January 25th, 2013


So, What Does That Mean?

I wrote this to Friendly Anon's prompt "Another winged cat/sons of the earth universe story please!"  It follows on from  An Unexpected, Hidden...Truth.

The family gathering for Christmas lunch was over and too many people had heard and seen Millie’s “funny turn” for her to pretend that nothing had happened.  “It’s my professional opinion,” Mr Rathbone, the Designated Tutor, explained, “that Mrs Wade is under the effects of a spell and has been since her formative years.  The good news is that it appears to be protective in intent.”

It was Catheline who asked, “And the bad news?”

“Depends on exactly what the spell does.”  The Designated Tutor shook his head.  “If it’s been in place as long as I suspect, it will have helped shape her personality.  Removing it might have no effect at all, or it could be like removing a load bearing wall in a building.”

“Why is that, young man?”  Millie Wade was feeling snappy again.

“It seems to be amending the way you think, I’m not exactly sure how, which is why I think you need to see an expert.  If your mind is a self–supporting structure, then well and good.  If your mind is ‘leaning’ on the spell and then we remove it, well, it could get messy.”

“I could have some sort of breakdown, or go insane?”  The older woman pursed her lips, considering.

“Essentially, yes.  That’s why I’m not going to touch it.  I don’t want to go blundering around in something as delicate as this could be.  Besides,” he added, “just because you’re under a spell that doesn’t automatically mean it should be lifted.  Do you have any older brothers or sisters who might remember what was going on at the time?”

“We hardly talk.  You think they might know something?”  She was all sharp attention.

“The spell seems to have been put on you with your parents’ consent.  It is certainly possible that your siblings might know something about it.”

“Would they remember after all these years?”  That was Catheline.

“Violet still brings up that I ate the last cupcake at a party when I was four,” said Millie.  “She might.  Caroline’s the eldest so it’s worth asking her.  Jack always had his head in the clouds or down an anthill, but Dora might be worth a word too, she was always ferreting out things you didn’t necessarily want her to know.”

“I can make the calls in the morning,” offered Catheline.


Paradigm Changer

I wrote this to aldersprig's prompt "After the Aliens Left."

By the time they left, we couldn’t look at ourselves the same way again.  They’d come looking for a marvellous treasure, following the clues across the galaxy, searching through the DNA reservoirs of a thousand species to find the signposts and clues left by a long vanished race.  Then they found us, when they came to Earth, Terra, Gaia or whatever you want to call our world.

They kept themselves a secret at first, sampling animals in discreetly at night.  They were, after all, one ship of adventurers and we, although relatively primitive, were a planet of billions.  When they moved on to sentient samples, first they abducted a few locals in a remote region for testing, then a few more in another region.  Not liking the answers they’d gotten so far, they sampled more and more populations.  Eventually, of course, they got caught on video on someone’s phone.  [The manufacturer of the device was thrilled with the publicity for their brand.]  Their secret was out, aliens were here.

It took us a surprisingly short time to track them down.  Apparently that matched with the answers they didn’t like.  By the time they realised we’d found them, we’d blocked their lift path out and they had to talk to us.  It took a week to develop meaningful communication and a month more before they could persuade us to let them leave.

We didn’t kill them.  We didn’t fly them into Jupiter but our telescopes and other instruments saw them smash into the massive planet.  We didn’t understand why.

Then we found they’d left a beacon.  A beacon with a message.  They’d already told us what the message in the DNA, all our DNA, said.  It took a while to decode the beacon message but we managed it.  Then we pondered the motives of this long vanished race and planned to recover the beacon so we could take it apart to see how it worked.  It would go with the pictures we’d taken of the adventurer’s ship to help us build our own ships.

“This is our booby trap planet, you probably won’t make it off alive.  Whatever intelligent live has evolved here will follow you to the stars, now they know it can be done.”

“Plague world, stand clear.  Plague world, stand clear.”

Two messages from the dead.

One dead race used us, and all our potential alternate possibilities, as a threat to whoever followed their trail.

The adventurers were dying when they took that plunge.  The galaxy is out there, we just have to be careful not to get our germs on it.