Saturday, October 6, 2012


As you know, I'm always trying to write the next great science fiction novel as part of my get-rich-quick scheme. I don't show the fruits of my labor here on the blog because...generally speaking, it's horrible.

In the interest of improving my writing I decided to make a kind of "test story" about a month ago, set outside of my established Killbot canon. Being the clever goat that I am, I realized that I couldn't depend on myself to set a fair time limit and if left to my own devices I probably wouldn't finish it. So I asked Ramzca to tell me when he expected the story to be done, October 5th.

I made the deadline, he still hasn't written back and the world is a little better place, all thanks to me. So, it's with great honor that I present to you...


By Tyler Baray

We were leaking atmosphere on almost every deck. The station's computer had detected the sudden drop in pressure, but was already too damaged to stop it. All it could do was activate the early warning system before it shut down. Bright red hazard lights started flashing in every corridor as more and more holes were melted through the hull plating. The sound of groaning metal started to fill the cramped steel corridors as the station's structure continued to bend and warp. Our orbit was decaying. If the rocket thrusters couldn't be brought back online we would crash into the moon below, assuming the power plant didn't go into meltdown first.

Fires were spreading throughout the central hub as radioactive material continued to ooze from the reactor. The computer systems failed when molten steel started leaking into the electronics. After that, the entire station started to burn. It was practically disintegrating before our eyes.

"We have to evacuate." I heard the navigator say.

"If we do then this entire station comes crashing down on Syphrean." The captain said. "That's over four-hundred thousand kilos of polluted steel on a collision course, we're practically an orbital dirty bomb up here."

"But they locked us out of the command deck. Besides, if they're still in there they've probably sabotaged those controls too." The navigator said.

"It's almost like they're not planning on surviving this."

"We have to assume they have their own contingency plan, Captain." The navigator said. "There's still an escape pod, we can make it there if we don't waste any time."

The stench of burning plastic was starting to seep into my mask. In a few seconds the whole corridor was completely choked by murky black smoke. The three of us started running for the command deck; probably the last safe place in the whole habitation module. There was no doubt in my mind that they were still there, planning their next disaster.

The hiss of escaping air drowned out any other sounds as more of the atmosphere leaked out of perforations in the hull. The catwalk was starting to rattle as the station deformed around it. Below us were dozens of holes melted clean through the plating, through which nothing could be seen but empty space. In the span of just a few minutes, Frontier Station V had all but fallen apart.

We made our way around it's circumference as quickly as possible, avoiding collapsing pipes and melting electronics. Cables were starting to snap and snake through the air, sending sparks flying through the hallway. Eventually, we reached the command deck airlock. It had been hastily welded shut. It's viewport was blocked with some kind of metal foil. I could see the captain try to work over a solution in his mind. I hadn't noticed earlier, but he had been carrying a bulky piece of equipment with him, he stood back from the door and started adjusting the controls along it's surface. The machine started to make a high pitched whine as he aimed it at the door. The navigator instinctively stood behind him and covered his ears. I did the same, having no idea what it was.

"Sir, what is that doing on a space station?" The navigator said.

"It was in storage waiting for transit to Syphrean. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try and use it." The captain said. "Listen, you should probably stand further back. This is designed to negate gluonic bonds and I don't want to make more of a mess then I have to."

The captain braced himself against a pipe and made a final adjustment to the oversized targeting computer. A thin beam of blue light shot from the gun with a loud energetic droning. Suddenly a cascade of bright light erupted outward as the door started to dissolve. The metal plate shriveled and started to disintegrate, it's constitute matter turned to glowing detritus and faded to dust. The gun exhaled a cloud of smoke and wound down.

All at once, the three of us rushed into the command deck. The captain started charging the gun for another blast as he ran ahead of us. He ducked under the still melting door and drew it to fire.

"Move and you're atomized." He said.

The navigator and I filed in after him. He stood with the gun poised at the console, his hands trembling around the bulky weapon. At the computer were three short figures staring up at him. Their eyes glowed slightly under the fading emergency lights. Their broad fan-like wings fidgeted nervously as they watched the gluon gun boring down on them. The one in the middle flitted it's long, delicate tentacles in the air, as if looking for something to say. It wore a sash around it's tail, an exquisitely embroidered piece of cloth, light blue with a gold trim: the garb of a Tanji ambassador of the moon Syphrean.

"Don't shoot!" It said meekly, it's voice barely above a whisper. "We have diplomatic immunity."

The other two nodded in agreement.

"But-" The captain stammered. "Do you have any idea what you've just done? How any lives you've put at risk?"

The ambassador looked around the command deck thoughtfully. It's large gossamer wings swayed gently from side to side as it perched on top of a half melted console.


"Frontier Station V is falling out of orbit. We're all going to burn up in the atmosphere and that's all you have to say?"

"It looks like it's only you three that decided to stay. Everyone else left in the escape pods."

"That doesn't justify-" The captain started groping for words. "How did you even get in the command deck? Do you realize that you've completely overloaded the reactor? You could kill us all!"

The ambassadors stood motionlessly, as if what he said didn't register with them. The habitation module groaned and buckled all around us. The longer we stood there, the more the hull would deform, until it simply shattered.

"Please calm down. There's still an escape pod available after all."

"So you admit to sabotaging the station?"

The ambassadors made a vague motion with their tentacles, possibly to indicate that they did.

"Don't you care at all? That's your own home planet down there and if you don't move out of the way right now you're gambling over four-hundred fifty thousand kilograms of radioactive steel that'll come crashing down on your own people."

"We understand the risk, yes."

The captain was silent. The navigator and I glanced at each other nervously. Neither of us were armed. I could tell he was as clueless as I was.

"My people are going to consider this an act of war. Understand that? You're putting Syphrean in a very bad place, diplomatically. And not just in front of us, but the whole galactic community!"

"You are explorers and scientists, yes? We are not afraid of you."


"We're done negotiating, Captain. Get in the escape pod now, your station is now our station."

"Yeah? Why don't I just kill you now? I'm authorized for it."

The captain pointed the gun at the lead ambassador's head.

"I know you, it's not in your nature to kill."

Suddenly there was a sound like escaping air. The captain fell over and went limp. The gun, still charging to fire, clattered to the floor. A long needle was lodged in the back of his neck. From behind one of the computers came a series of rapid metallic clicks. Another Tanji fluttered into view from behind the malfunctioning console, carrying a long, thin tube with a trigger at it's midsection.

"Don't move. Unlike your commanding officer I'm not afraid to shoot." The Tanji said.

"Put these two in the storage locker and seal the door behind them."

"For god's sake, think about what you're doing!" said the navigator. "Are you really going to instigate an interstellar war? Why?"

"You should have left with the escape pods. That is all the explanation you need."

The one with the dart gun led us to the storage compartment.  As it waved the gun at the navigator it dawned on me just how small the Tanji were, being creatures adapted to life on a low-gravity moon. The whole creature, wings included barely reached my knees. It was so thin and fragile looking. The next thing I knew I had stepped on it, crushing it like an oversized butterfly. I felt like I had no control over what I was doing, as if by pure instinct  I started grinding it's body into the jagged floor grating to make sure it was dead. I started to realize what I had done only after I saw it's torn, useless wings sticking out from under my boot.

The other two started to panic and fly wildly around the room. They charged me and started flapping around my head, trying to grip at my face with their wispy tentacles. I caught one in midair, a shiver crept up my spine as I felt it squirming around in my hands. Completely without thinking, I started tearing. It's wings separated from it's body with an unpleasant ripping sound. The Tanji fell to the floor, writhing in pain and bleeding clear, viscous blood.

The other ambassador searched around the floor for the dart gun while the navigator struggled with the leader, which had crawled on his back and was stabbing him with the stinger at the end of it's tail. He caught it and held it as far away from his face as he could. I noticed he had dozens of small pinprick wounds all over his face and hands. The leader started to scream in it's native language: a high-pitches whistling sound, barely loud enough to be heard above the sirens. The navigator threw to the ground and started stomping on it, until there was nothing left but a shapeless pulp.

We both turned to face the last Tanji as it gripped the dart gun. Behind it was the captain's gluon gun, still charging another shot. It was shaking uncontrollably and shooting sparks out of it's barrel.

"It's going to overcharge!" The navigator yelled.

We both ducked behind a computer console. The whine of the gun's capacitors turned into a piercing screech. In an instant the whole room was bathed in bright light as shrapnel was flung in every direction.

I looked out from behind the computer to see the damage. There was a scorch mark where the captain's body used to be. The Tanji was little more than a pile of ash at the other end of the room.

We both ran for the escape pod as the station fell apart around us. The emergency lights flickered off, leaving the command deck in abject darkness. Fires had broken out everywhere else. I noticed the navigator was sweating. By the time we made it to the airlock, he was extremely pale. He punched in the code for the door, fumbling with the buttons. His eyes were dilating. The door hissed open, revealing the interior of the escape pod. With no warning, the navigator collapsed on the floor. A thin stream of foam poured from his mouth. I watched as he convulsed, his back arched and he went limp as a last gasp of air escaped. The navigator died before even stepping inside the escape pod, the stinger wounds on his hands and neck festering and turning a dull purple.

My last view of Frontier Station V was the darkened corridor, a fire burning out of control at the far end of the hall and the navigator's dead body. There was a screech of tearing metal and a loud hiss as the station twisted in half. From the time the door closed to the release of the safety latches, I barely had any time to secure myself at the controls.  The flight computer would do most of the work and automatically calculate a safe route to the surface of Syphrean. I sank into my seat as the thrusters ignited. Finally, I had broken away from the doomed station.


The screen faded to black.

"I'm afraid this is all we know." Said one of the delegates.

"There were other crew members with ocular implants. We were able to salvage a record from what they saw, but nothing gave us as complete of a picture as this." Said another.

The Chief Director slumped into his chair and let out a frustrated sigh. All around the room were screens keeping track of the developing situation. For the past eighteen hours he had been organizing the deployment of a peacekeeping force around Syphrean. The phones had been ringing nonstop, calls were coming in from every station on and around the moon from nervous commanders. The order had been given to evacuate, but none of them really knew what to do besides that, then again, neither did the director.

Almost overnight their exploration of Syphrean had turned into a diplomatic nightmare; misinformation, disobeyed orders, all of it had turned the deployment into a complete mess. Now there were stations blasting their distress signals on every available frequency, because no one bothered to tell them their own battleships would be in orbit. Evacuation rockets were starting to clog up shipping lanes. Suddenly the Director found himself responsible for a whole world's worth of unaccounted for personal. His thoughts went back to the air-tight life boat, drifting in orbit, waiting to crash down on the surface of a hostile world.

"Sir, what are we going to do about Frontier V?"

"One of our satellites located the crash site, we're already getting extremely high radiation readings from the area. It's standard policy to try and contain any ecological danger-"

"I know our policy." The Director said, rubbing his sore temples. "Where did it crash?"

Silence fell over the room.


"The bulk of it burnt up in the atmosphere. But what was left...crashed on top of a city in the south eastern hemisphere."

The image of the crater appeared on a screen: an ugly black spot surrounded by an aura of demolished buildings.

"Sir, I'm afraid the locals have been at war this whole time. Using the station was their way of acquiring a ready-made nuclear it were."

"So we're accessories to what? Genocide?"

The delegates started arguing, all the while the image of the smouldering dead city clung to the screen. The Director was aware of tribal aggression on the moon, but never anything like this. The conference room exploded with activity around him. From down the hall came the sound of a stampede; journalists, sniffing out the scent of the man who allowed a whole frontier station to fall out of the sky. Just as they busted into the room, he imagined the inevitable mountain of paperwork he would have to face, and how much easier his life would have been if it could have burnt up in instead of the station.


Anonymous said...

This is some good stuff you've written.

Shadgrimgrvy said...


mom said...

always science fiction. always!
how come you dont write a good love story or something ..I dont know...not science fiction!
( your still awesome )

Shadgrimgrvy said...

Yeah right, like I could write a love story, pfffft. It would end up being something weird like a Human woman falling in love with a Dalek...

Wait, that's not a bad idea...

Linda said...

It was a well thought out cohesive story line. It had a maturity of thought to it and kept me interested in the people and why they were even there. The violence was not for shock value, but it actually followed the panic in people living in a situation like that. Looking forward to the continuing storyline of what happens to them next.

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