Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 89: Dilligent, The Recruit

This is the 89th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Diligent, The Recruit, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 28th February 2013

Word count: 951

The story:

“A ship like this gets in a lot of scrapes,” the recruiting sergeant said. “This isn’t a safe life, but it is profitable.”

“Transporting strawberries?” the prospective recruit said with a smile.

“Precisely,” the sergeant said ignoring the man’s joke.

“So what’s she carrying fighter wise?” the recruit asked.

“Three scorpion class fighters with the manoeuvrability mods,” the sergeant said. The recruit was sold.

Four days later Riston Stoker, the prospective recruit, boarded the Diligent. Officially the Diligent was a transport ship, but everyone knew she was really a pirate space ship, even SBO had used it’s stories to create a holo show, Free Men of Space.

“Welcome aboard the Diligent,” the recruiter said as soon as Riston crossed the airlock.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 88: Day at the Shops

This is the 88th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Day at the Shops, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 27th February 2013

Word count: 771

The story:

“This isn’t what I had planned,” John Johnston said as he popped out of cover to fire his colt at whichever targets were presenting themselves. It was a big powerful and noisy gun, but also accurate, two of the five remaining attackers went down wounded or dead. John returned to cover.

“Yeah like I expected the same thing,” Luke Riley said, “What the hell missions have you been on to warrant this response?” he popped up from cover and sprayed the enemy position with an uzi before returning to cover. “I fucking hate uzis, on my last clip.”

“I’ve been off rotation for five months,” John said, as he waited for the gun fire to stop ringing against the marble planter in the mall, then he popped up and fire two more shots, taking another gunman down. “There’s one of theirs down over there,” he pointed at a dead body, “I’ll cover you.”

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 87: The Apocalypse Challenges

This is the 87th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Applications, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 28th February 2013

Word count: 541

The story:

Within five years the world was beyond altered. Five years. I was a teenager when we hit the Green Cliff, oceans rose, weather became devastatingly unpredictable, vast super storms that lasted months and flooded continents, and being above the water didn’t help as there were winds strong enough to break a man and carry him miles away.

The wheels of industry were smashed to smithereens, either directly or because of a lack of resources. I remember the news prophesying millions of deaths, but it was more like billions. I was painfully aware of this because I was with my dad in a government bunker, front row seats to the end of the world as we knew it.

Five years later things calmed down, we left our shelters to make a new life. Then the snow and the ice came in winters, summers were hot and dry, but as the years swung between we learned to cope.

It doesn’t matter, life goes on, but it’s a struggle. There isn’t enough to go round, there are those that choose to take from others. There are diseases the super storms dug up, and summers as affective as any genetic lab created, that if your lucky took you quick. Too many were slow debilitating diseases that robbed you of good friends inch by inch.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 86: Applications

This is the 75th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Applications, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 25th February 2013

Word count: 1000

The story:

“This is the biggest and most powerful computer in the world today,” the photogenic scientist Wolf Hammersmith said to the packed auditorium. “Its official name is the IBM LX9154H, but the guys working on it having given a much more meaningful name, Deep Thought, in honour of the computer from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.”

“Excuse me Doctor Hammersmith,” a journalist said standing up, “But didn’t Deep Thought give an incomprehensible answer?”

Wolf laughed jovially, “The answer entirely depends on the questions. Our Deep Thought has a series of questions to understand, and then research the answer. This computer is the equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider. It will devote itself to answering the most important questions of our humanity, but as a computer it lacks the bias of human philosophy.”

“So there’s no AI?” another journalist in a blue suit asked.

“Just the opposite, the framework of this machine, from its hardware to its operating system is to mimic the function of key areas of the human brain. It has already developed a highly rudimentary personality, and can validate questions that refer to itself.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” the blue suited journalist pressed.

“It can’t build evil robot versions of itself, I can assure you,” Wolf said with a laugh.

“How can you be sure?” the same blue suited journalist challenged, much to the growing frustration.

“I don’t know what Sci Fi nonsense you’ve got up there at whatever magazine you work for but I can assure you that’s just not possible. I can teach a child about nuclear physics, but I cannot expect that child to apply that knowledge, they have neither the education nor the tools for practical application. It’s the same with LX9154H.”

“I only ask because I received an email traceable back to your department, voicing these concerns,” explained the blue suited journalist, “And my name is Adam Gibson from the Times.”

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 85: Car Parks

This is the 85th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Car Parks, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 24th February 2013

Word count: 926

The story:

“You did what?” the general asked his facing turning red with anger, and confusion.

“They left me no choice,” the Prime Minister said. “They’re not going to do anything about it.”

“Not going to do anything about? You moron, you fired a nuclear missile at France. At Paris even!”

“Would have served them right if I’d turned the whole city into a car park,” the Prime Minister sat behind his desk non-plussed.

“They’re mobilising their military as we speak, do you not understand that was an act of war?”

“Please, what are they going to do? Throw garlic at us?” the PM asked dismissively.

“Well your government has cut the army down to the size of an SME, and the navy has less ships than a small transport company. I think they might fancy their chances. What were you thinking, you baffoon?”

“Careful General, do you know who you’re speaking to?”

“I’m not sure, I thought you were meant to be a ‘safe pair of hands’ or whatever it was you campaigned under,” the General said.

“They insulted me first,” the PM said, almost petuantly.

The General took liberties with the PM’s intercom, “Send me in the Cabinet Secretary, whomever of the cabinet you can muster,” he instructed to the bleagured secretary who had spent the morning fending off those very same individuals.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 84: Unrequited

This is the 84th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Unrequited, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 14th February 2013

Word count: 751

The story:

“This is such bullshit,” the man said throwing his arms in the air in frustration.

“Be that as it may, you’re still not allowed in. I have my instructions,” the man on security said.

“Come on,” the man said, getting angrier, “Look I have my invitation right here.”

“I have instructions,” the security man repeated unmoved by the man’s frustration.

“Fuck,” the man said, turning away. The security guard was easily six foot four, and well built, and he looked hard. Charging him wouldn’t help anything. The man walked back to the car and climbed in the passenger seat.

“Not go as planned Pete?” Sarah, the woman sat in the driver seat asked.

“Apparently someone warned the security guy not to let me in,” the man named Pete said, with a sigh.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 83: The Snail Bet

This is the 83rd in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Snail Bet, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 14th February 2013

Word count: 1000

The story:

“What would you like to be today?” the familiar refrain to clashing music awoke Lucas.

“Off!” he screamed, and the alarm cut off. He stretched his long gaunt body, modelled after an old basketball legend from the nineteen nineties.

“Sit rep,” he commanded and the plain wall of the apartment became a computer screen.

“Currency low, suit rental expired, flat rental due tomorrow,” the computer warned. Lucas looked at his currency levels they were indeed low, but enough to see him through.

“Computer bring me a list of budget suits, and jobs that pay wages today,” he instructed the machine.

It came back with jobs, so Lucas looked through the list.

“Computer how many people have applied for the plumbing job on row sixteen?”

“Twenty seven, eight of which are better qualified by experience.”

“And the carpentry job on twenty one?”

“Eleven, none with more experience or as high a rating in carpentry as yourself,” the computer responded.

“Apply,” Lucas instructed. “Now suits.”

The job list was replaced with photographs of people and creatures in a variety of clothing.

“Filter out creatures, they’re not my style, and the cost can’t be more than ninety percent of my remaining currency, ” Lucas instructed. The list grew shorter. ” I’ll take number seven.”

The curved chamber behind him rotated open.

“Please enter the booth,” the computer instructed. Lucas got in clutched tight to the guard rail. He’d done this many times, but he was still wary of it. Then a gas releases, and his body was forced to relax.

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