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Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

Subjective by Behemoth
Total votes: 1 (11%)
Heartbeat by Hyperion
Total votes: 4 (44%)
Duality by Oddy
Total votes: 1 (11%)
The Entity by outlander4
Total votes: 2 (22%)
The Andoran by scousematt
Total votes: 1 (11%)
Total votes: 9
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Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

#1
Welcome everyone, to our seventh Short Fiction Contest!

Voting has now closed, and the competition has ended.

The winning entry is: Heartbeat by Hyperion

Entries have closed. Voting is now open.

Voting Closes sometime around Sunday 27th of July 2014


This contest will close sometime around Monday 21st July 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 only the satisfaction that comes with victory.


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 encounter with an alien who has godlike powers.
Feel free to incorporate the topic into your story in any way you choose - Your story might be from the point of view of an explorer or diplomat, or even explore the perspective of the alien. You could imagine all the ways a godlike alien could mess with humans, or posit that the alien would be far too different and advanced to interact with humans on our level. You could even write about the religious or societal ramifications of meeting such a being. Anything you like, so long as you use the idea of the alien with godlike powers in your story.

That's it. Have fun! And, as always, 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 7 - 21/07/2014

#2
Subjective

The light was bright, as I descended to Earth. Or more like crashed. I didn't break anything. The others who also are me mostly died, some got damaged badly. I landed in a liquid, floating. They would find me quickly. Then they came, and pulled me up with their machines, seeing that I was dead. They also saw me look as I looked, it was even the most probable. I let them see me as a living creature. One of them spoke. It turned to my language mid-air, spawning flashes in the air. Most probable was, that it didn't, but I didn't care.

"How is it still alive?"
I started flickering, with the flickers turning to a language they spoke when leaving my skin.
"It is subjective. Most versions of me didn't survive. You are seeing the one who survived intact."
Most probably they would have panicked, but I didn't care. They didn't panic, and one of them, not the one who had spoken last, spoke.
"What are you talking about?"
"In an infinent amount of other possibilities, I died. But every possibility is as good as every other. I don't even have to choose; one of me will be in a possibility, where the thing I want happens. It needs a little perspective. I am my own subjective god."
I could've chosen for him understand, but I hadn't talked for a long time.
"I still don't understand."
"Everything that can happen, happens. I have understood that. I just don't do anything, and the thing I wished for happens in one of the possibilities. I just disregard all of the others."
"I'll believe that when I see flying cows."
Suddenly hundreds of flying cows appeared. One of them even landed on the boat, and the man touched it. It jumped, and left off with its gigantic wings flapping. Then they disappeared as their particles suddenly existed in a different place.
"That is impossible."
"No, just very, very improbable."
"What do you want of us?"
"I want a little challenge."

Suddenly, a nuclear missile appeared out of thin air, and annihilated the boat.

Mostly didn't, but I disregarded it.
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 7 - 21/07/2014

#3
Heartbeat

She caressed the crystalline doll in her hand, marveling how the pure diamond she knew it to be felt so much like flesh; it was even warm. She couldn't be certain whether it was her mind playing tricks on her or maybe, just maybe the crystalline doll really had a heartbeat too; maybe it breathed.

"It's time," came a calm voice from behind "Is there anyone you would like to say goodbye to?"
She looked up from the doll. Taking a deep breath, rising to her feet, turning around to look at him, she smiled, "My brother, he's a good man, his husband and their daughters too. They treated me so well when no one else would speak to me, they defended me after you showed yourself. Are you sure they can't come?"
"Just two, not three, not four, not five. He refused."
She sighed, "Did you pick one then?"
"Yes. He is in your room. He is from," the glowing figure paused, "You call it Ethiopia."
She looked down at the planet below her, the glowing outline of India shown brightly where it was not obscured by the monsoon. "I see, can I see my brother now?"

She stood in the Office of the President of the United States, or maybe she didn't really, for as she turned around she was still on the ship in orbit, it was something she didn't quite understand but she didn't need to. Rising to his feet next to the president, alarmed like everyone else, was her older brother.
Guns flew up, pointed at her. She hesitated, her natural reaction subsiding only as she saw the curvature of the planet through them. She smiled and walked towards her brother.
"Madame President, Mr. Vice President, step back, this woman is a traitor to her species and her planet and we will not let you come to harm."
"And how would you do that?" The president demanded. "Ms. Lacrima, what are you doing here?"
Pausing, she smiled calmly at the last empress of a dying empire. An odd thought, perhaps it was from seeing the middle kingdom shining through her.
"Evie, what- how- what are you doing here?"
"Jacob-"
"Evie, you have to stop this, you don't know what you're doing!"
"I'm saving us, everyone, everything. We will get to continue, please understand this."
She didn't notice the bullets pass through her as she walked up to her brother, putting two fingers on his lips. She pushed his arm down and holding him closely spoke softly into his ear, "I love you brother, I'll miss you."

The sun burst forth from behind the planet, flooding the whole scene with light. As quickly as she had found herself back home in Washington, she was again solely in one place.
"Have you saved everything?" she asked "The books, the films, the music, all the species?"
"In addition to what you provided about human culture, I have recorded most of life on your world." The figure said with its usual serenity. "We/I feel there is no more reason to waste time, our fuel reserves are minimal."
"Okay, if this is what you need to do."
The figure nodded. "It has begun. It will take a few minutes"

She stood, raising her arms, and took a deep breath. Though filtered, the sun's rays felt warm and pleasant, she relaxed and drank it in. It was hard to tell at first, only a few numbers changed, but then it became noticeable. Bright points appeared in a ring around the sun. The numbers changed, and the ring grew brighter, and the sun grew dimmer, and her eyes grew wider. She did not blink as great machines ate her star, she did not blink as unknown forces chewed and digested it piece by piece, sucking it in like vacuums from hell. Her heart skipped a beat, what had she done?

The ship changed course to avoid the world below, doomed to freeze in the endless dark.
Image
Challenging your assumptions is good for your health, good for your business, and good for your future. Stay skeptical but never undervalue the importance of a new and unfamiliar perspective.
Imagination Fertilizer
Beauty may not save the world, but it's the only thing that can
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

#4
Duality

The structure did not give off any radiation, it was all but invisible the sunlight gleaming off of its hull. It was pure luck that they had discovered it.

Lauren was looking at a hologram of the structure, while the Mind was still analyzing the structure. The hologram disappeared as the Mind’s voice started speaking.
“Energy spike detected... system breach... activating virtual defenses... decoupling secondary systems...”
The main lights went out and an explosion sent a shudder through the ship. Her weight came off of her legs as the gravity drive shut down.
“frak”, she muttered.
In a last act of defense, the ship’s Mind had self-destructed, to prevent it falling into enemy hands.
Lauren pressed three fingers firmly on the underside of her wrist, releasing chemicals into her bloodstream that would temporarily lower her reaction time. She grabbed her helmet and clamped it shut, sealing her suit from the environment.
She grabbed the side of the table and pushed off, feet first and landed on the wall, absorbing the impact with her legs.
Grabbing a handle in the wall she pulled open a hatch, crawled in the small tunnel and started moving to the top of the ship.

Nearing the end of the tunnel, she twisted the handle and opened the way to the inside of a small cockpit. She repeated the procedure inside, sealing the hatch, sat down and powered up the emergency ship.
She ordered the simple Mind to set course for the closest monitor base and started undocking.

The smaller ship started to move away from the mothership to be able to jump.
Lauren checked the time to jump when power in the small ship went out. While she ran diagnostic programs of the ship inside her helmet, a strange feeling started to build up in her head.
It was as if another presence had formed there and was growing quickly. Not being able to control her movements any more, she started to panic. Breathing fast, consciousness started fading. Before everything went dark, she could just catch a glimpse of the ship’s systems coming back online.



“Koernikov, we have contact. It’s a rescue ship, the signature suggests it is of one of our spaceships. We have tried to make contact, no response. We are out of range for diagnostic communications.”
Koernikov replied,
“Jump and retrieve the rescue ship as fast as possible when we come out of micro-jump.”
The spaceship, an old transport ship, was outfitted with a greater Mind and used for military transport. It was a small ship compared to the biggest of them all, but as it reappeared and crept closer to the rescue ship, the sheer size was mind-numbing.
Given enough time, the rescue ship would be pulled towards the transport ship by gravitational force alone, but the situation required fast action.
Besides, Koernikov was not known for his patience.
Automated craft orbited the rescue ship and pulsed it towards the big transport along a calculated path, landing it right in the bay where it was steadied by a forcefield.

He entered the observatory of the quarantine room while the Mind was preparing its tools to open the hatch of the cockpit.
“Has there been any activity, signs of life?” Koernikov asked.
“The small Mind reports that there is one form of life aboard. I am now sensing increased activity inside the ship.”
Moments later, the handle in the hatch turned, the hatch swung inwards and a woman climbed out.
She was small, black haired and moved with an elegance that gave away that she was military.
Standing on the floor of the quarantine room, she started looking around. Her gaze finally steadied on the window of the observatory.
Koernikov involuntary took a step back, confusion and shock spreading on his face.
Her eyes were black like a wormhole, absorbing the light rather than reflecting it.
Her lips curled into a smile.
“Koernikov. It is good to see you again.”
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

#5
The Entity

‘Our human stocks are dwindling.’

A flat, simple statement froze 4X3e’s thoughts, as if somebody poured liquid hydrogen into his brain. 8E9s, who never used the intricate, delicate language of the Elders to its full potential, paused and transmitted her thoughts again.

‘Our human stocks are dwindling, I say; they’ll come to full extinction in the main timestream if nothing is done for them.’

4X3e mentally frowned, sending ripples through space, surely knocking some minor planets off their orbits.

‘What others use them for or abuse them for is surely not of my concern! Just go and find some other species to bend to your every whim!’

8E9s frowned, too. She had that particular frown that never produced any effect in the physical plane but seemed to bring chaos and uncertainty into his very soul. He quite liked that 8E9s; unlike other Entities, she still cared for what has been going on in the physical plane. But then again, she was very young, living for only two Universe cycles while most others have been there for at least a hundred of them.

And her frown communicated something her imperfect words didn’t.

‘They are more than playthings to you. Why?’ He frowned again, taking care not to send a gas giant he was passing by into its sun. ‘Why do you care about a minor species who did not even achieve enough intelligence as not to kill themselves?’

‘I came into being from minor, underdeveloped and not-intelligent-enough species myself…somebody helped me – helped us. I don’t know, who or why. I want to…to pass the good deed along. And I ask for your advice on how to do it best, since you appear to know such things.’

‘Well, since mass mind control does not work for anything other than getting several billions of slaves…it is simple, really. You go down there. You live among them; you do small favours they perceive as wonders. You try to spread the idea of compassion and understanding that will be imprinted in their collective memory, allowing them to regain their sanity in the critical moment of their history. Some people will listen to you; some people will follow you; but most of them will try to horribly murder your physical form, and there will be much grieving and sadness involved anyway.’

‘And if I fail?’

‘You just try again till you are sure it will work.’

She send him a smile – an emotion that once again failed to move planets around or light any new stars but somehow reached deep inside him, stirring long-forgotten memories that made him feel uncomfortable and happy at the same time. Then she turned around, and jumped into the physical plane. He saw her falling through the planet’s atmosphere, leaving trails of plasma behind her, surely to the excitement and fear of the local population, who were about to meet her in person. Surely to conclude she’s mad; but then, the only difference between a madman and an Entity is that whatever Entity says can be made real in a blink of an eye.

He closed his mind and accessed his well-hidden memories - those of 8E9s before she became an Entity – of a flock of winged creatures that nearly nuked their entire planet, and smiled. She was a problem child, but he loved her nonetheless.

‘My daughter,’ he whispered, looking at her in her human form, walking towards a small city, her long golden hair shining under the morning sun and bright smile lighting her face, ‘you are surely off to a rough start.’
Image
Survivor of the Josh Parnell Blackout of 2015.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

#6
The Andoran

The buzz filtered beyond the casinos through the whole station. The Andoran was in town with his steel grey eyes and stone cold soul. A wave of excitement swept across the tables fuelled by rumour and legend. A week ago the Andoran had been tale to scare players, an undefeated monster. Now he was real, and here.

Dorian was lucky. The last few months had established his fortune credentials. He was almost a million up. But is wasn't luck that led him to challenge the Andoran, no, that was arrogance – the kind of arrogance that had cost him his left hand.

The fact that he was still in the game after an hour, however, was skill. He was not without talent.

Across the table, the Andoran remained impassive. Hand after hand he had played with a quiet economy. Not a word had passed his blue lips, he played a safe game with no mistakes, riding the dice and the augment cards through the initial openings with minimal cost to his reservoir.

Another hour, Dorian was down a little, but still in the game. They were past cards now, down into the token mid game. Tiny counters on the tiered rack between them represented the rise and fall of civilisation, the twist of diplomacy, the vagaries of fate. A model of the galaxy.

Dorian still had more than three quarters of his stake left. His survival so far had brought the room to a silent standstill. He hadn't noticed, his only reality was the game, the little holographic counters. Lost in concentration, his stump drummed a rhythm on the edge of the table.

With each passing round, the token's became more ornate, taking inspiration from the gameplay. Dorian's pieces were expensive, and tended to take on brash colours reflecting his own cockiness. He had spent a small fortune on their algorithm and had been immensely proud of them.

Before the Andoran.

Across from him the Andoran's tokens were something else. Stunning. Lifelike. Like nothing he had ever seen before. The sheer quality was almost a distraction. The fidelity only improved with each hand.

They moved on together, twisting and turning, matching each other play by play as they approached the Tower.

The Andoran smiled and placed a token on the edge of the board, where players kept their lucky mascots. Dorian stared at it, puzzled. It was blank, a lumpen clay outline.

The Andoran pointed a finger at Dorian with his right hand while moving one of his constructor ships. The board shifted and walls began to fall, slowly at first and then ever quicker, huge dreadnoughts blasted out of the sky, fortress planets taken one after the other. Dorian's game crumbled.

The Andoran smiled and nodded at his luck piece. It was more defined now. Human. Male.

Without a left hand.

Dorian lifted his left arm.

He could see through it.

His last free thought was of fading into the game.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 7 - 21/07/2014

#7
Competition Closed.

Poll is up! :thumbup:


Votes are in!

Congratulations go to Hyperion, with his story Heartbeat winning the competition, taking 44% of the vote.

As always, big thanks go to all the authors who participated by submitting an entry. The next competition will be up shortly.


Last bumped by Just_Ice_au on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:16 am.
- The Snark Knight

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

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