The First Court Martial

The planetary colony of Franca was small. The population of 600 split perfectly between men and women. Due to the complexities of human sexuality this produced less than 300 couples. Colonel Baird and his Marines counted themselves among the population. Baird’s aide de camp, Lieutenant Vespa, often entertained his wife to prevent her boredom. Baird knew the effeminate Vespa was gay, so he never worried about impropriety. Indeed, Vespa was the best girlfriend of many Franca women.

One day whilst hiking in a secluded woods with Baird’s wife, Vespa discovered a most curious plant growing from a dead log. He couldn’t resist himself…

Later, Baird roared, “Why would you touch an alien plant?”

“Sorry, sir, but now the side-effects worry me.” He pointed to his glass. A duplicate plant already sprouted there. “It grows from anything my mouth touches!”

“Well, you better visit Doc Banerjee pronto!”

Minutes later, Doc Banerjee called his phone. “Colonel? Your wife just reported to the infirmary.”

“Is she alright.”

“She’s fine. Nothing life-threatening, but definitely curious.”

“Well spit it out, Doc. What’s going on?”

“Ah.” Banerjee hesitated.

“Well?”

“She has a most curious plant growing from her genitals.”

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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/sunday-photo-fiction-june-25th-2017/

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An Unexpected Problem

Photo by: April Morgue

Harlen knew Lester had a heart condition. That’s why he worried. As he pulled up to the farmhouse he breathed a sigh of relief. Lester stood there, waving.

“Damn, son!” said Harlen, joining Lester on the porch. “You had me worried.”

Lester offered him a beer. “Sorry about that. I see now you’ve been calling.”

“Yeah. What happened?” He took a long pull from the Coors.

“I blame it all on Jerry.”

“Your six-foot tall rooster?” At Lester’s request, Harlen agreed not to post videos of the giant mutant chicken on YouTube. “Did he finally go berserk? Chase you into a corner?”

“Naw, nothing like that. Jerry’s a good ol’ boy. So friendly he likes to stick close to me all day.”

“But I drove by. You weren’t home.”

“Yeah I been in town getting a hearing aid from Doc Swanson.”

Harlen leaned against a post. “Uh huh. And…?”

Lester collected another beer. “Well, you know normal roosters are small animals but very loud.”

“Right, but Jerry’s huge.”

“Yep. Jerry don’t just wake the farm when he crows, he wakes the dang county!”

Harlen’s face fell. “Oh…”

Lester nodded. “Dang bird blew out my eardrum!”
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Written for FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER: https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/538/

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Missing Something

Photo by: Ted Struts

Stephen fell asleep while waiting to board the ferry.

He awoke, still waiting to enter , but the ferry looked strange. He turned. His middle-aged wife Leslie looked twenty years younger.

“Okay, Dad?”

Stephen turned to Tabatha, their sixteen year old. Gawd, she looked in her twenties.

Everything seemed strange. “Uh, did I miss something?”

Tabatha, Princess of Blunt, said, “Oh, the tsunami that put you in a coma, 200 years in cryogenic sleep, and nanomeds curing us all. We’re taking you home since you woke up.”

As the ferry blasted into the sky, Stephen muttered, “Oh, is that all?”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/06/21/23-june-2017/

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Practical Considerations

Photo by: Footy and Foodie

Dr. Thorogood looked up into the sky with pride. As the sun slipped low in the sky, the pattern of clouds contrasted beautifully. “Isn’t it fantastic?” he said.

“I suppose so,” said Paul Lords, tech reporter at large. “How does it work?”

“The concept is simple really.” Thorogood pointed. “This patch of sky has been seeded with trillions of nanobots. On command, specific nanobots collect water vapor to form clouds. They form a ‘cloud dot.’ Enough of them form a letter. Eventually, they can spell out messages. It’s dot-matrix printing with clouds!”

“That is amazing…I guess.”

“They’re programmed with every written language know to Man. They can write in Sanskrit, even Sign Language. This will change skywriting worldwide!”

Paul sighed. “Yeah.”

Thorogood scowled at Paul. “I sense a lack of enthusiasm.”

“Well, it is amazing technology.”

“But…?” prompted Thorogood.

“Well perhaps not all written languages should be used, owing to practical considerations.”

“Like what?”

Paul pointed to the clouds forming into dots. “Does it make sense to skywrite in Braille?”
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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/fffaw-challenge-week-of-june-20-2017/

Author’s Notes:

Braille: For those who are visually impaired, Braille is a wonderful tool. Patterns of raised/recessed dots allow people to read as easily as a sighted person. A critical aspect of Braille is that the reader must physically touch the dots in order to read them.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille

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Too Heavy

Photo by: Al Forbes

Vincenzo was proud of the metal eagle he’d bought. He couldn’t believe the low price he got for it at the market.

Giaco had concerns. “Why would such a beautiful sculpture be so cheap?” A powerful man, he tried to lift it but it wouldn’t budge. “What is it made of?”

“I don’t know,” said Vincenzo. “But it’s beautiful isn’t it? It’ll look great atop the City Building.”

They collected six strong men, but even they could barely move it. All agreed it was heavier than solid gold. They hastily assembled a crane from whole oak trees. It took days but they finally mounted the eagle on the City Building.

Unfortunately, their troubles weren’t over. Within a month stones began falling away from the building.

“It’s that damned eagle!” spat Giaco, dodging a piece of falling stone. “It’s too heavy.”

A week later, with the City Building’s facade threatening to collapse, they removed it. They towed it back to market on a cart used for giant marble columns. Giaco said, “Where on earth did this thing come from?”

Vincenzo sighed in embarrassment. “It used to be on the Tower at Pisa. You know, the leaning one.”
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Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/sunday-photo-fiction-june-18th-2017/

Author’s Notes:

Leaning Tower of Pisa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa

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You Can’t Go Home

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai was once the tallest building in the world. Decades later its glory faded. When Priyansh grew up there, the apartments were slums.

Priyansh was smart and ambitious, though. He became the only Rhodes Scholar the Burj ever knew. He traveled the solar system working on ever more ambitious projects. He designed major systems aboard the space habitat orbiting Jupiter. The Degrasse-Tyson habitat orbiting Neptune was Priyansh’s.

After forty years without setting foot on Earth, Priyansh brought his son Samar to Earth to see his old neighborhood.

The shuttle weaved back and forth on counter-gravity fields as Priyansh looked confused.

“Are you lost, Poppa?” said Samar.

“Of course not!” grimaced Priyansh. “This is Dubai.”

“Okay.”

“The Burj is nearly a kilometer tall. It should be easy to find.”

Samar looked out the window. Perhaps fifty buildings soared several kilometers up.

“Yep. You’re lost.”
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Written for What Pegman Saw: https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/06/17/burj-khalifa-dubai/

Author’s Notes:

Rhodes Scholar: “… is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford. It is widely considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious scholarships.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodes_Scholarship

Burj Khalifa: “…is a megatall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) including the antenna and a roof height of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest structure in the world since topping out in late 2008.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa

Neil deGrasse Tyson: “…is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator…he hosted the television series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a successor to Carl Sagan’s 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.”

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Oops Over Miami

Photo by: Dale Rogerson

The lights of a kilometer-long starship pierced the clouds. Some people stared in awe, many screamed and ran for cover, one held up sign reading, “Take me away, please!”

Chaos reigned.

***

Aboard the ship, on Earth Overwatch, Captain Smyiirt frowned. The ship monitored Earth, concerned that warlike Humans might spread into the galactic community.

An important aspect of the ship’s mission was remaining unseen.

Smyiirt watched the growing furor in Miami. He turned to Systems Officer Hysiit, a cadet fresh from the Academy. “Are our stealth fields engaged, Hysiit?”

The flustered officer said, “What?…Oh!”

*click*

“Of course they are, sir!”
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Written for the Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/06/14/16-june-2017/

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