FlashDogs: Time

TodaFlashDogs Time covery the third FlashDogs anthology Time, is being released. I have three stories in this volume, which I hope will cause you to want to take a look. It is available as a paperback and as an ebook from FlashDogs: Time on Amazon.

This entire volume is made up of flash fiction. The challenge of flash fiction is that it requires the entire story: plot, characterization, world building to occur in less than 1000 words. It sounds like a rather extreme limitation, but when the right story is crafted by a skilled writer, it is the perfect way to have some creative, light fiction without devoting the time necessary for reading full length books and novels.

All the proceeds of this volume will go to a selected literacy related charity.

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Shanghaied

The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue,  Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, and Jewel’s Place

 

Shanghaied

The Dibolocos tossed Jamison to the floor and several of the officers on the bridge immediately drew their weapons, leveling them at him. He realized he still had his weapon in his hand. He set it on the floor beside him.

“Don’t surrender your weapon you fool, holster it.” The command came from one of the men standing over him.

So Jamison picked up the weapon and slipped it back into its place at his side.

“Stand up.”

Jamison obeyed.

All but one of the men around him also holstered their weapons. The one who had been speaking turned back to the Dibolocos. “Welcome back, Captain Lobokidos.”

The two stared at each other for a few seconds. Jamison knew there was a private conversation taking place. When the man glanced his way he knew the conversation was about him. As he waited he saw the room begin to darken, and knew he was in danger of collapsing. He wasn’t sure what was happening yet, and feared what might happen if he showed such weakness. So he willed himself strong and waited.

Eventually the officer turned to him and said to the man who had his weapon on him. “This is Jamison. He will be assigned to Tyler’s away team. He is unaligned thus far, treat him with caution. Deliver him to Tyler.”

At this he was led off the bridge, down a stairwell, and a couple of crowded decks. Jamison noted it must be a small ship. Finally they reached a series of barracks.  On the way in he noticed it was guarded like a containment cell, the force field was lowered just long enough to push him in, and then it was put back up again.

Inside the men gathered around to stare at him. All were armed, but none showed any sign of rank. A man pushed through the mob and walked towards Jamison. Without thinking about it, Jamison took a step back.

“That force field behind you is set to kill.” The man said it rather nonchalantly.

Now Jamison whirled around and instinctively backed away from the deadly barrier. Several men laughed. Jamison felt adrenaline clearing his vision and flaring his emotions.

“My name is Tyler. I am the leader of this group. We are on a pirate ship commanded by a Dibolocos who goes by the name Captain Lobokidos.”

“I’ve already met the Captain.” Jamison mumbled. A ripple of gasps and giggles went through the small band of men.

“Wait. You have met Captain Lobokidos? Are you lying to us?”

“No sir. He came into my sister’s place, snatched me from there and carried me to the bridge.”

“So your sister sold you into slavery?” Now all the men laughed.

Jamison wanted to argue. He wanted to defend her and declare her innocence, after all she had said there was nothing she could do about it. But yet he suspected there was at least a degree of truth to it. Captain Lobokidos somehow had a great deal of control over her.

Tyler ordered the men to disburse and mostly they complied. Not with military precision, their actions looked more like begrudging respect. Then he took Jamison to the rear of the cell. He ordered a man out of a bunk beside his own and told Jamison it was his now.

“I want you right here where I can keep an eye on you. If I get so much as a hint that you are a threat to my leadership of this team I will kill you in your sleep. Do we understand each other?”

Without waiting for an answer he gave something like a situation report that answered some of the questions Jamison had floating around in his head.

“This is an away team meaning when we overtake a mark, we are sent on board to secure its valuables. Sometimes we are told to take the ship to a port for resale; other times we simply strip it and blow it. But if we don’t follow orders, we are killed. Anyone who is a threat to the rest of the team is killed by the team. The Captain and crew do not care how many of us die. Do you understand me?”

Again he didn’t wait for a response.

“The display screen over there will show us the mark as it is located, and progress as it is disabled. When it’s time to go we will be sent by the transporter. All of the supplies we need are either transported in or more commonly shoved through the slot under the force field. For slaves we are treated pretty well. We often get our choice of the best weapons, the prettiest women on board the mark, and we are fed. You don’t want to mess this up. Do you understand me?”

Jamison didn’t answer at first because he expected him to keep going.

“Do you understand me!” Tyler was yelling, and a ripple of laughter went through the barracks.

“Yes sir!” Instinctively Jamison answered like he would a military commander. Tyler slapped the back of his hand across Jamison’s face.

“I am not a ‘sir.’ Call me Tyler.” He said it calmly, quietly, and Jamison noted the sound of defeat in his voice.

Tyler laid down on his bunk, leaving Jamison standing there for a minute. He looked around the room and as he did so many of the men immediately looked away. Two men standing together near the wall continued to leer at him.

Last thing he noticed was the display had a countdown written in large letters. 20:38:12 and counting down.

 

 

Trifecta 102: Routine Patrol

Trifecta Writing Challenge is one of the weekly flash fiction contests I have enjoyed. This week’s prompt word is a fun one. The word has to be used exactly as it is listed below and under the third definition, which is bolded for you. The story has to be between 33 and 333 words. Mine is 323.

CRAFT (noun)

:  skill in planning, making, or executing :  dexterity

a :  an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <the carpenter’s craft> <the craft of writing plays> <crafts such as pottery, carpentry, and sewing>

b plural :  articles made by craftspeople <a store selling crafts> <a crafts fair>
3 :  skill in deceiving to gain an end <used craft and guile to close the deal>

I must have SciFi on the brain again. Here is a story I thought of last night while I should have been sleeping.

 

Routine Patrol

Heath serves as an Enforcement Officer for the Border Patrol of the Human Colonial Republic. It’s a lonely existence. His powerful ship is comfortable but very claustrophobic. He’s gotten twitchy from being far out, too long.

His current assignment is to check an uninhabited galaxy, Mysis 9, three days farther out at full warp. Two planets, one outside an asteroid ring and the other inside. Protocol says to start with the farthest from the star working toward center.

While scanning the outer planet his listening device detected a distant percussion. It might be a malfunction. It might be two asteroids bumping into each other. It might also be poachers. He touched his eye to stop a nervous tic.

Approaching the belt, an alarm went off. The debris in the belt was moving in an unnatural way. Another alarm. A small ship had blasted an asteroid with a mining laser. He saw it tractor out the minerals liberated in the explosion. His cockpit was climate controlled; but he was sweating.

Calling for help would alert the poachers to his presence. He was authorized to use deadly force; this was the preferred response. He would do his duty; but his mouth was dry.

He slipped into the asteroid belt. He could approach relatively close and have a better shot by hiding. In the last little bit he clamped hold of a rock and waited for it to spin revealing his quarry while hiding him. He found the craft of his plan reassuring.

Then a green glow passed through the asteroid he was clamped to and through his ship. This scan revealed the mineral content of the rock. Before his mind fully processed what was happening, his ship and the asteroid were shattered by the poacher’s mining laser. His cockpit automatically formed an escape pod, but pods are defenseless.

He felt the tractor grab hold and pull him toward the poacher’s vessel. Heath began trembling violently.

 

Pieces

Pieces

copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Pieces

 

A motherboard, a power supply, and a piano keyboard; inspect it all piece by piece. Put it all back together, and it still doesn’t work.

Katie spoke. “We don’t have the rent money.”

Jason felt like a failure. He couldn’t fix it.

“I’ll talk to the landlord, maybe wear my waitress uniform.”

Again the pieces are separated. Each one worked apart, but failed when put together.

“I love you. But I am just so sick of this.”

He wanted it to work, but wishes hadn’t fixed anything. What could he say?

Katie went to the bedroom. He heard her sobbing.

 

Friday Fictioneers is a website and weekly writing challenge that allows people to write short pieces based on some kind of a prompt. This weeks prompt is the picture above. These pieces are linked together and all the writers get to know each other and offer positive feedback. This particular one is not a contest, it’s more like a community. If interested follow the link and read the details.