SF Drabble #411 "Communications Breakdown"

"We can try to talk to it."

"Morris is dead! Do you want to be next?" Hirota furiously stabbed at the  controls until the airlock began to cycle.

"It could have been a misunderstanding. Morris pointed something at it—"

"A camera!"

"How would an alien know that?"

Hirota turned, grabbed the quick-connect ring of Anderson's spacesuit. "Listen, if you want to stay and chat, be my guest. But I'm leaving." And with that, he was through the airlock and gone.

Anderson let the lock close and re-pressurize. It wouldn't understand the words, but surely it would know he was trying?


  1. Like the story but it's the prompt word or just meaning required?

    1. I rarely if ever just use the prompt word straight out. A lot of the time it just comes off looking and feeling awkward; you're going through the story and then suddenly there it is and now you're thinking, "Oh, look, I've found the word" instead of keeping with the narrative. It takes you out of it. I'd rather find a meaning that I like and run with that.

    2. No worries. I just reread the loose rules, which I like. Most word prompts require the word, and like you, I dislike when usage comes off artificial. I don't mind use the specific word but it has to flow. Please do let me know if it read comes off awkward.

      Like what you do.

  2. Nice slice of a larger story. Well done - nice and tightly written.