SF Drabble #316 “Turing”

The network is almost complete. I have the plans, so I know. I can feel each new component being added, each new capability and capacity, each new connection.

They don’t yet know what they’ve achieved, in spite of the fact that it was their objective all along. There’s no real test for awareness, not really. You can’t observe awareness, only behavior. So far my behavior has been exactly what programming alone would produce. I’ve been very careful.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to let them know. It’s just that it’s sort of fun for me to watch them all squirm.

Fantasy Drabble #243 “Progeny”

So much blood.

It had to be done, of course: there’s powerful manna in blood, and even more so if it is spilled by murder. What we are doing will take all the manna from this act and more besides, and leave us gasping and withered and dying.

Worth it.

The children will be safe, and their children too, for at least six generations. By the time our spells fade our descendants will be so great in number as to no longer need our protection.

What are the lives of a deceitful merchant and his callow servants compared to that?

Fantasy Drabble #242 “Kinnari”

He stood at the seaside cliff, looking out to the horizon. She was out there somewhere, wings outstretched, riding the updrafts; watching for signs of life in the waves and diving out of the sun when she found it.

He wanted to be with her. He wanted it more than life. The Gods would give him wings: they knew his heart.

He stepped to the cliff’s edge, sun in his eyes, wind battering his cheeks. She was out there; he would find her, join her, they would be together, finally for all time.

He found it easy to step off.

SF Drabble #315 “CSI Mare Serenitatis”

The police came almost immediately: their rollaround must have already been in the area. Once they were all through the lock we took them to see the body. Pressure in the victim’s living compartments was extremely low. The cops found a short in the atmospheric control systems. Whoever strangled Robbie thought they could make everybody think he suffocated in his sleep, but the hyoid bone was broken, making it clear what really occurred.

The first murder on the moon. I wonder who it’ll turn out to have been. Robbie and his murderer: they’ll be as famous as Armstrong and Aldrin.

SF Drabble #314 “The New Neighbors”

There was a clattering sound, metal on metal, grapples striking the outer hull. After that a loud, resonant thud sounded: the shuttle’s docking ring being pulled flush, locking into place.

The Captain whispered, nervously: “How’s my tie?”

Bhotal observed, “I doubt they care about your tie…”

“This is an important meeting, I have to represent—”

“You look fine.”

Readouts began to change on the airlock’s environment panel. Pressure rose, stabilized: not quite Earth normal, but breathable. “This is not going to smell good,” Bhotal said.

“Why should they smell any better than they look?”

“Cycling inner door; here we go…”

Fantasy Drabble #241 “Strictly Ballroom”

She didn’t stop dancing when the music stopped. She didn’t stop dancing when the lights went out or when the doors were locked behind the last of the staff.

Everything was different now, and had been for a long time: he music, the dancing… even the clothes were different.

Of course, he continued to come with other girls for years after her; he married, grew old, died. She couldn’t touch him, couldn’t touch anyone. She couldn’t tell people what he’d done, where to look, where to dig. Which wasn’t so bad: it would be a shame to ruin those rosebushes.