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Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 8:22 pm
by Just_Ice_au
Welcome everyone, to our sixth Short Fiction Contest!

Voting has now closed, and the competition has ended.

The winning entry is: HUMINT by Just_Ice_au

Entries have closed. Voting is now open.

Voting Closes sometime around Sunday 8th of June 2014

This contest will close sometime around Monday 2nd June 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 a year's supply of congratulations.

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:An agent of the galactic information war.
Feel free to incorporate the topic into your story in any way you choose - Your story might follow the agent on a mission to recover vital data. You could imagine new and exiting ways technology has changed the process of hacking or spying. You could even write about the ramifications of data theft. Anything you like, so long as you use the idea of the agent in the information war 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:

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 1:41 pm
by Behemoth

The object was traveling inside enemy territory. It had just passed the information horizon. It gave no clue of its existance, except for a tiny gravity anomaly indistinguishable from a clump of dust. It recorded and analysed every photon hitting it. Every tiny difference in the blue star's light, every gravity wave, every dust particle was recorded. It slightly nudged itself for a closer trajectory from the shipyard.

The shipyard was massive, a whole moon repurposed for building a fleet, barely anything in the bigger picture, but massive when looked at alone. The ships were spherical, in every possible size. The structure imitated a cell, and the ships would seem undamaged even when hit with antimatter. The planets were being mined dry, even the star was being used up to build the fleet. The von Neumann construct had done good work.

The object traveled, and hit the periapsis. It was going further away from the star. Data was slowly filling the crystal. It could notice the needle-like hunters searching to destroy any scout ships like itself. One of them came too close. The object stopped gathering data, and bent the light around itself. The hunters were as good at sensing as it, though slightly bulkier due to the added tiny antimatter lance.

The object passed the information horizon through the tiny hole used for interstellar communication. It captured as much data as it could from the stream of photons, and continued onward. It was only two hundred years until intercept of an allied star.

Privacy is overrated

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:02 pm
by CodeDecoded
Author's Note: Sorry for that really bad story, I didn't see the actual topic of this contest. Sorry! This post will be edited shortly. Thank you.


At first, he thought the war was great, a way to spread the Republic's age of peace and prosperity. But he saw past it. It wasn't spreading peace. It was causing chaos to the known galaxy. And so, it was his duty to the world to end it...

"Commander," he said. "I came back with the intelligence report"

"Good, bring it over here, Lieutenant," replied the Commander.

"No," he said, quietly.

"What did you say?" said the Commander, with a glare in his eyes. His mouth turned into a frown as he replied.

"No!" he repeated, only with a stronger voice. "I will not give you the report"

"What!" the Commander shouted. He got out of his seat, shoving it in as he left. He walked calmly up to the Lieutenant, until they were face to face. "Listen here Lieutenant. That intel report you have, is a vital piece of information for the war effort. And if we can't have it... Well, we'll just see about that. Now hand over the report!"

"Never!" the Lieutenant screamed. "You, or anyone else in this messed up republic, will never be able to use this information to hurt anyone ever again. And I will make sure it doesn't. Understand?"

"Lieutenant," the Commander said, frustrated. He weakly fell back into his chair. His hair is now a mess, his eyes red with fury. Sweat is dripping down from his forehead. "I did not spend 5 years at the Academy to deal with this. The Republic will not tolerate this act of disobedience. This is clearly a violation against the ru-"

"Screw the rules!" the Lieutenant said, interrupting the Commander. "Now, you will keep quiet about this, or else."

"Or else what?" replied the Commander, with a smug face. "You are weak, puny. You stand no chance against the might of our Republic. We are too great! I am too great. I am the greatest Commander in the entire galaxy. And I will die with the honor of serving this nation if I have to!"

"Good. Very good..." said the Lieutenant, causally. "Well, since you asked for it... Now!"

"What!" said the Commander. There was a few knocks at the door. "Come in."

The door was broken open, and against the Commander's hopes, it was rebel troops who came. They surrounded the Commander and took him hostage, putting him in a bag.

"What now?" said one of the soldiers.

"Our job here is done. Just take whatever you can find and let's get out of here" said the Lieutenant. There was some noise outside the Commander's Office. The rebels went dead silent, with the only noise present is the officers outside.

"Did you guys hear that fight?" said one officer.

"Yeah, what happened in there?" said another.

"I'm not sure, but we should go check it out, just in case," said a third. The three officers started their walk up to the office.

"Oh great. Now how are we going to get out?" said the Lieutenant.

The Commander's office was stormed by the three officers, along with some cadets. The rebels were outnumbered, and perished in the war. The report never got in the Republic's hand however. The Commander, along with the Republic's most important and highly classified plans were burnt before it went into the enemies' hand. After the day of the rebel invasion, liberating troops broke into the deceased Commander's room, finding nothing left but ashes and the rotting body of the Commander. Once the Republic was defeated, the winning rebel nations freed the Republic's many colonies. They formed the Federation of Stellar Nations (FSN), and helped restore the galaxy to peace. Everything was right in the world once more.

Many cycles later, the dead body of the now famous Lieutenant was found. It was brought back to his hometown, where he finally had a proper death, and he was allowed to rest in peace. He was honored for his work on that day. May his work and legacy live on.

One important piece of information, one determine person, is all it takes to make a difference.

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 2:51 pm
by Lum

The small shuttle approached the outpost undetected, slowly matching the rotation of the docking module. The universal lock gate needed almost ten minutes to reconfigure itself in order to dock properly. It was a really old mechanism. Then the hydraulics hissed and the inner gate opened.

The five-man special unit infiltrated the station following the plan with precision. The clock was reaching the twenty-second mark when they penetrated the main deck. After reducing the skeletal crew on night-watch –and just point seven seconds before the limit- they seized the small control room. It was a clean move, no casualties for both sides.

Once the complete crew were locked in an improvised brig three technicians made their way up from the shuttle to the control room. Then they hacked a clear path through hardware and software and logged themselves in the system.

“Report,” ordered the man in charge of the operation.

“It was worth our efforts and the lives of our comrades,” answered the lead technician, solemnly and proud. “The information was correct. This ancient, long forgotten tin can is indeed a backup relay of the Confederation’s Tactical Network. It's way down in the network's hierarchy, of course. But we’re in, sir. And undetected. This could be the turn of tide we ever hoped for.”

“Good work,” said, perfectly masking his emotions. “Set a full-watch roster for the op. You may dispose of two of my men for non specialized tasks at your discretion.”

The technician nodded and the leader clicked his comlink two times.

“Sir?” the pilot asked, some anxiety dropping through a wall of professionalism.

“Touchdown, brother. Make her cool and join us upstairs. Phase 2 is on the way.”

“Finally. What’s with the crew?”

“They're all yours. You know what to do. Learning about the crew replacement schedule has top priority. We must know how much time do we have.”

“I’ll keep you posted.”

Pleased, he turned to the next terminal and indulged himself with the first minutes at ease in weeks. The screen poured a myriad of tactical data on the enemy side. A small, short smile drew on his face. So many possibilities at his disposal…

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 5:50 pm
by CommanderDJ

The cramped, windowless lobby was empty when Erin entered, save for the clerk sitting behind the stubby wooden desk. He looked up.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No. The Chairman requested to see me.”

“Right,” he said, taking a breath, “hang on a sec.”

Standing and briefly rubbing his eyes with a hand, he walked over to the frosted glass door and stuck his head in. She couldn’t make out what he said; security took care of that. He turned back to her, shutting the door with a snap.

“I’ll need to see some ID,” he said, returning to his desk, “cause… you know.”

Erin wordlessly turned to rummage in her pocket, and as she tilted her head, her fringe shifted slightly to reveal-

“Whoa,” the clerk said, standing up, “never mind that.” He snapped off a sloppy, civilian salute that Erin nevertheless smiled at. She returned the salute, properly, and he went to sit back down, but then stopped, his eyes slightly narrowed. She saw them twitch to different parts of her face: blonde hair, eyebrows, glazed purple eyes, lips.

“Wait a sec… I know you! You’re… you’re Erin!”

Stifling a sigh, she nodded. “Yes. Yes, I am. Relax, it’s no big deal.”

He raised his eyebrows at her. “But I’ve seen you everywhere! Posters, vids, ads! Oh man, the last one was great! I loved the bit-”

She didn’t even need to say anything to shut him up; the flames behind her eyes and the set of her mouth did that. He stopped and, after a moment, slowly sat back down.

“I am an actual soldier, you know,” she said, her voice like steel. “They pretty me up and turn me into eyecandy so the public has something to glorify. It makes me the agency’s laughing stock. But when I’m not on some photoshoot or idiotic film set, I go on real missions into the network. I risk my sanity for you. For all of you.”

“Sorry,” he said, exhaling, “sorry, got carried away.” He paused. “Um… is it okay…” he hesitated, his voice quiet, “if I ask what it’s like when you’re… plugged in?”

It was her turn to hesitate.


The word hung in the air for just a moment, and then he gave her a series of quick nods, then gestured to the door. His face held... was it pity?

“Alright, uh… go on in. The Chairman will see you now.”

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:54 am
by nickgreyden
Double Down

Taranda saw the thief. There, magnetically clamped in his hand, was an almost complete list of operatives the Coalition had in Alliance space. The information was safely stored on the pad and ready for upload at the first terminal the thief could reach. She couldn't stop him now. He'd be gone before she could get to him. She flexed her hands into fists and her arms shook in impotent rage. Had she a weapon, she would shoot him in the head; a warning to others for having the audacity to steal from her unit on Almos. As it were, she just stood at the window, watching and waiting.

She had been too long at her job behind a desk. She hated the cramped nature of an office but Teral had took her out of the field several years ago saying she was too valuable to be risked. This was the result. She had become complicit and failed to close a trap set up for just such a scenario. How could she have been so stupid.

The sun streamed in the window and she darkened the tint more and began to pace. He was there, just out of reach, taunting her with failure. She had chased him here with only a minimal force in the hopes of capturing him for interrogation, but everything had gone wrong. Mechanical failures, weapon failures, if it could break it had. And now she once again stared out of the window at the object of her rage retreating further in the distance.

The door hissed behind her and she felt a presence in the room. “What can I do for you?” she asked.

”Nothing ma’am,” came the reply. “I only came to see if you needed anything. I assume we'll be returning shortly?”

She turned around and glared at the old man. A warning look she had honed in front of a mirror and so filled with venom that it could scare a drunken man sober. He took a step back.

She grunted to herself in satisfaction. “No. I’m fine. Let’s get ready to go back.” She turned back toward the window. “Do you want to watch?” she asked on impulse.

The old man stepped forward and stood next to her. After five minutes, the thief’s spacesuit began to melt. Two minutes later, the data pad turned to goo in his hand as his corpse now fell toward the sun at increasing speeds.

She sighed. “Ok, Mr. Pact. Let’s go. We're finished here.”

Without a word, he deftly slid the remote network device in his shirt with no tell and, smiling to himself, exited the room.

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:57 am
by Just_Ice_au

The little table where Alain sat was shoehorned into a dark corner of the spaceport bar. A perfect place to blend in with the crowd, without having to speak to anyone. The battleship Grimalkin had hit orbit this morning, and her crew had been shuttling down all day for some overdue liberty. The bar was packed with spacers in Tahusian-blue tunics.

Alain rubbed the crooked bridge of his nose nervously, and resisted the urge to check his chronometer for the hundredth time. His contact was late, and he desperately wished his mission profile had included a weapons package. Besides, his new face itched like hell, especially his eyes. The complete genetic re-profiling ensured he couldn't possibly be recognised, and his Tahusian Lieutenant's uniform completed the disguise, but he still felt very exposed and vulnerable this far behind enemy lines.

Of course, he had been feeling that way ever since he'd been assigned to this post six months ago, but he wasn't usually sitting in a bar full of off-duty enemy soldiers, all of whom would quite happily execute a Kantian spy at a moment's notice. Until tonight, the most fieldwork he'd had to do was managing the agency's system of information dead-drops set up in the small spaceport that was the sole strategic asset this backwater system had. It was safe to say his anxiety levels had reached new heights since he'd been tasked with this op.

A thousand man-hours of agency time, fourteen agents confirmed KIA, and at least eight secure data channels compromised had all gone into making this moment a reality. An enemy officer was willing to defect, and provide critical strategic data on their enemies to the Kantian military. An intelligence win like that could turn the tide of the war in a single instant. Despite the veritable army of hackers and data-rats the agency employed, the endless banks of computers and electronic-warfare systems, sometimes it still came down to good old-fashioned human intelligence sources.

It was just a shame the agency hadn't been able to send a real fixer to meet the defector. But when word had come with the time and place of the meeting, Alain had been the only asset on station. It was now or never, only a matter of time before Tahusian internal-security discovered the traitor in their midst.

"The skies are bright tonight." Alain looked up at the man who had spoken. He was tall, with a long, lean face that seemed eerily predatory in the dim light of the bar. He didn't look anything like the defector Alain was supposed to meet, but Alain might not be the only one wearing a new face tonight. And he had given the correct code phrase.

"A nice night for a stroll." Alain gave the response.

"Sorry, Kid." The gun appeared in the stranger's hand as if by magic. So fast, he had to be bio-enhanced.

"Wait, I.." The gunshot cut short Alain's final words.


Alain frowned, and shut down the encrypted video link from the camera implanted in the eye of his proxy. Obviously TIS had penetrated the operation somewhere, the agency wouldn't be pleased to lose the defector. On the upside, the neural re-patterning on the captured Tahusian Lieutenant had performed perfectly. Alain's neural structure had clearly overridden the original personality completely; and wouldn't the Tahusians just scream when they learned who the 'enemy agent' had actually been?

Yes, it was time to move the re-patterning program into phase two. After all, there were no shortage of test subjects in Kantian POW camps. With the ability to turn any enemy soldier into a spy for the Kantian side, the war would be over in months.

After all, Alain smiled, there's still no better military resource than good, old-fashioned human intelligence.

Re: Short Fiction Contest 6 - 2/06/2014

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:12 am
by Just_Ice_au
Voting has now closed, and the competition has ended.

The winning entry is: HUMINT by Just_Ice_au

Okay, everyone. That's it for submissions.

Poll is up! As usual, everyone on the forums is invited to read the entries and vote on their favourite story, and feel free to comment in the Comments Thread!