Written for the Write on Edge writing challenge. A story about a neighborhood swiftly becoming crowded begins after the image.
Genre: Science Fiction/Humor
Roland and Daphne propped up their feet on the back porch of their new house and sipped chamomile tea. The green fields of Earth’s brand new settlement on the planet, Francisco IV, stretched out before them. The sun was setting, dropping between the three moons and forming beautiful reflections in the nearby lake and streams.
Daphne sighed. “We’re so lucky.”
“We are,” agreed Roland. “To think it took 60 years to make it with ion propulsion.” Ion engines were similar to rocket engines but not nearly as powerful; however their incredible fuel efficiency made them perfect for traveling interstellar distances. The only downside being, it took a very long time to travel those distances. “I mean, in all that time the AI didn’t go berserk. We only lost 2 out of 300 cryogenic pods, and then this planet is untainted and perfect for human life.”
“No deadly fauna, just lots and lots of space to grow crops and raise kids in clean air,” said Daphne with dreamy eyes.
A knock at the front door interrupted their serene moment. They opened the door to find four people wearing white space suits. “I am Colonel Xiu Lang Han,” said the leader. “We came as fast as we could. Do you need medical attention?”
“Uh, we’re totally fine,” said Roland, ushering the group in. “We just finished building the colony. How did you get here so fast?”
“It’s the new hyperspace engines. Invented long after you left,” explained Xiu. “We’ve been traveling 4 years to reach you.”
“My god. It took us 60,” said Daphne.
“There’s also the time dilation effect,” said Xiu, gratefully accepting some tea. “While 60 years passed aboard your ship, 250 passed on Earth. Plenty of time for new inventions to emerge.”
Another knock at the door. Roland opened it to find 5 men in dark uniforms outside. “I am Major Vladimir Edovskye,” said the leader. Here to inform you, the Empire of Man claims this planet in the name of Emperor Warslava!”
“Uh, okay. C’mon in. Are you from Earth too?”
“Nonsense!” scoffed Xiu. “When we left in 2283, there was no ‘Empire of Man.'”
Edovskye patted his hand sympathetically. “You’re outdated my friend. We left Earth in 2337. With the new warp engines, it only took us a month to arrive.”
Another knock at the door. “What is this? Grand Central Station?” groused Roland. He opened the door to see 7 people, all with colorful photovores decorating their naked skin. “Okay, how did you get here?”
“Wormholes. Instantaneous travel.”
Daphne looked forlornly at her back yard, now crowded with spaceships. “There goes the neighborhood.”
Roland’s wrist felt sore as he answered another knock.”Is there another way to travel?” he murmured. Two very ordinary-looking people stood outside. Roland breathed a sigh of relief. At last, somebody normal. “How can I help you?” said Roland.
The woman grinned shyly. “Sorry to interrupt your gathering.”
“That’s alright. We’re happy to help fellow colonists.”
“Well, we’re not from around here. We’re just a little lost. Is this galaxy MD-346 or 364?”
Join fellow writers sharpening their skills at Write on Edge. Here’s this week’s writing prompt: http://writeonedge.com/2014/02/writing-prompt-2014-week-7/