Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Yet another two tales. Science Fiction this time

This week I have two short tales again, but as I was deciding on what I wanted to do this week I finally felt like I wanted to do Science Fiction. So here are two SF stories. In the first one I had to use a certain four to six words. It's months old and I forget which words and exactly how many. The second story is based on a pic. The he setting comes from the picture. A young woman working on the shoulder of a cyborg, in a room we assume to be her workshop. I added a couple of details, such as her hair, but basically it is it. The artwork was very well done and I am afraid I don't have the artist's name or a link to where it can be found this time. 
The first one is wha I call ordinary SF and the second could be cyberpunk or something close to it. 
Together they are 1,987 words long.  


An Emergency Sell 

Makueue sat at his controls, he frowned at the images above the slanted, grey panel. His eyes closed for a moment. 
Nothing left to do. 
His small cockpit seemed to close in on him. He could reach from one side to the other. It fit his small freighter and provided a bit more storage. Now though that extra room might cost him more. He wanted to bang his hand on the control panel but he had done that before-the panel was very hard. All it did was hurt and cause the images to jumble for a second. 
A movement at the side made him glanced at the viewer at the side of his controls. An image of William Shakespeare showed. The real likeness of him. Or so who they now thought he was. He had turned down the sound and paused it when the call came through. Now there silence filled his ears, which fit. He had bought new versions of the plays, set in contemporary settings, to watch on this trip. He loved the Bard’s plays. Real life reactions mixed in with proetic lines. Shakespeare knew how to write.
Damn, that beep, which had signaled the note from the Commence Ministry of the Walton Kingdom, had distracted him from the beginning of “Taming of the Shrew”. Now he didn’t fell like watching it. Bile came up at the news. 
The recorded memo had been short. The cost of the Temp commence license had gone up. That meant he didn’t have enough to buy one. Without it if he tried to sell anything or deliver cargo to anyone, he could face prison time as a smuggler. The Royal Family, of course, could buy things from anyone they wanted to. They wouldn’t want anything he had, even if the cargo belonged to him, which it didn’t.  
His ship, the Surreal Camel, rested near the huge hourglass-like station. Sensor dishes, weapons and squarish long comm antenna marred the bottom and top. It was this system’s Royal courts, multi-governmental office complex. It also housed the HQ for their Smuggler Officers which also served as search and rescue. The home station, where most of the citizens lived, was another two hour trip at medium sublight speeds.
In frustration he looked over his shoulder, pictured his ship. Its streamline oval hull with two small, fat cigar shaped outriggers. The ship’s pulse drives and gravity twisters rested in those. The Camel had two smaller drives in the main hull, away from the main drives. They could be used as thrusters, or emergency propulsion, if something happened to the larger ones. The middle of the ship could be expanded upward to make more cargo space. Right now the hump was out all the way out for he had a full cargo.
Which I can’t sell now.
He looked to the side, to the ceiling and deck under his shin high blue ship boots. At the moment he wore something inspired by old Earth water pirate, even though with odd colors. His shirt had a basic brown with earth tone red panels and green short wide stripes. All white pants with wide legs, completed his outfit. 
Nothing here to inspire me. 
If he could deliver his cargo he would get paid and be able to pay for the Temp Comm license, but they didn’t work that way here. They wouldn’t do that even for a late fee. He wouldn’t get much out of this trip but at least his costumer would be happy and his rep would be in tact. Now he could lose the cargo fee and his rep if he had to leave without delivering the cargo. And the client might sue him for the price he would have gotten. All because these asteroid heads wanted more money. 
He couldn’t sit here much longer either, or they would charge him for extravehicular docking fees. Makueue glanced at the side screen again. He shook his head. He had only a total of 27 hours and thirty-four and a half minutes to stay here and over half of that was gone. A strange amount of time-maybe it was a local day. No time to watch those flare blasted plays, not even just the Tragedies, to help him relax. Or to fix his mood before he had to pilot the Camel back home in defeat. 
He stood. No room to pace in his control cabin and the rest of the small ship was too full to do a descent pace. He wanted to jump up and down; bang something. Another look at his controls. He blinked, titled his head as he stared at a tiny cube, smaller than dice, that sat in the player. What had he read about the King? 
Maybe, I do have something to inspire me.
He sat down, dialed the call sign for a certain official. Two days later he piloted the Camel back home. It had taken most of the rest of the 27 hours and odd minutes to get in touch with a member of the Royal family. A buyer, who came on board and examined the video cube, bought it. That gave him more time. The cube was one of a type. It could not be copied which meant it would be rare here. The buyer paid him and took the cube. Makueue bought the license, delivered his cargo to the customer;s buyer, got paid all with his rep intact and ended up with 25% more money than expected. 
Not bad for a bad day. 


Second Tale:

SideBorg and Kilner

The smell of soldering filled the air. Sideborg-a name to say that he was on his own side-watched her. She was the best there was as young as she looked. He always wondered if she really was the age she appeared to be. Her experience at this and her knowledge made him think not, but she was a genius after all so maybe. A few of the sparks from the soldering bounced to his face, but he didn’t care. He didn’t need eye protection with his eyes, for his arms were not the only manmade devices he had.
Sideborg looked around, Kilner’s place looked like it was filled with junk, but there was more here than most thought. That was one reason she kept the place dark, so no one could see the real stuff, mixed in with the junk. She had proven that she knew where it was and where every piece lay. Her goggles looked well used, with burn spots, nicks and faded colors. They were made from a mixture of super tough ceramics and metal, designed to take very high temperatures and were very hard to damage, yet she, or someone else who had them first, had done both. 
Kilner looked on the lower level of pretty and in shape-she would have to be with some of the lifting she had to do and that she needed to run very fast at times down here. Her mid length over red-for today-hair was tired back with a heat resistance cloth, but some strands still had scorch marks and the ends sat uneven. Today her work stunk more than usual, for the metal they had to use and because it was a very strong alloy, therefore took a very high temperature to fuse together. It needed to be for the use he put it through almost every day. She had just repaired the damage and now was readjusting and recalibrating the computer in his shoulder. The last job he had done had damaged it, but it had been overdue for an overhaul anyway, which, of course, had made the damage worse. 
The clicking of the recalibration continued as did the hiss of the torch she used even though she had sit it aside for now. The best models didn’t produce any noise, but here they didn’t have the top line stuff. It all worked though. 
He breathed in some of the heat and soldering gas one of his few remaining human functions, when he thought of the last job. His tastebuds still worked and he wanted to spit out the taste all that produced but he held it in since he was in her shop.
Sideborg sighed, last night had been a furball. The guards around that diamond had been some of the best, but he had snuck past them anyway. That was one reason he was popular with certain people. He didn’t just use his strength and augmentations. He could stay in shadows and use distractions as well as the best of them. Sometimes no one knew he had taken anything. 
This time was different and so far, as he had heard anyway, no one knew his real job had been to steal the chip with Barney’s safe houses, secret accounts and hiding places for illegally gotten goods. That last was what his costumer had wanted. One of Barney’s men had stolen a very old item that could lead to something valuable, maybe a weapon or a carrying case with a pocket universe in it, Sideborg suspected. He now knew the three places it could be but decided to leave it for the customer, who had been very happy to get the knowledge. He should be on his way to the second place already-if he hadn’t found what he wanted at the first one.
The rest of what Sideborg found could be worth a lot of extra money, before Barney realized the knowledge had been stolen and redid everything. But that might not happen for a while. In the fight with the hidden two guards-both augmented-Sideborg had destroyed the side of the room where the chip had been stored. It hadn’t been planned, but the fight had been messy. The whole room would need cleaning and restoring, all types of devices and storage drawers and cabinets had been destroyed. He managed to finally get out with what he wanted but it had been closer than usual. He had feared discovery or even destruction twice. But he had used his cunning and with a bit of luck that electrocuted that one hulk, he had made it. Other parts of him had been damaged and his face, and other real skin spots, had been badly bruised. But he had left no blood or skin behind to be shifted.  
Kilmer stepped back and smiled at him. For reasons unknown to him he was one of her favorites. That he paid on time probably helped, as well as the fact that he didn’t call her names or felt the need to show off. He didn’t compliment her much but he did pay extra when he had it. That could be why she fixed him on credit twice, she knew he was good for it eventually. She had other favorites but few. Plus she liked doing a job no one else could do, or do as fast or as well as she could. When she smiled like that her work was exceptional. 
When she went to get his arm, he smiled, for he would be back to work tomorrow with no one the wiser to the damage done to him. And with no one being able to take advantage of his “injury”. Or suspect that he had been involved with the break-in. He would take the next few days off, to rest and to see about what else he had, he had made a copy of the chip. Sideborg knew he would have to be very careful who he let in on his knowledge and how he partial out that data. He knew the people who would be careful with its use and would know how to use the info without letting on they had gotten it from Barney himself. That meant money and favors owed.
He smiled bigger.  


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