A Short, Little Rebellion – The Speakeasy

Written for the Speakeasy. A story, about underestimating an opponent, begins after the image.

Genre: Science Fiction

A Short, Little Rebellion

Looks can be deceiving, but some just refuse to listen, noted Callum.

The battlecruiser’s main screen showed only stars. Captain Alexander Brewster spoke to the man to his left. “Not that I expect much, Mr. Tyrie, but any idea what sort of defense forces they have?”

Planetary Liaison Callum Tyrie shook his head. “None, sir. The workers of Pinnatin IV are notoriously secretive. To be honest, I’ve never even seen one. I think we should be cautious.”

Brewster scowled. “Seriously? They’re just a bunch of loggers. Granted, the wood of Pinnatin is the most exotic known to humanity, but a tree is a tree. It grows, you cut it down. How technical is that? These have no spaceships as far as anyone knows. Imperial vessels do all the hauling. If they were advanced enough for space travel, we wouldn’t have to do all that.”

“I suppose.”

The steely-eyed Captain glared. “Meaning what?”

Callum shifted uncomfortably. He wasn’t used to this. “What they make isn’t ordinary wood. Their materials are impossible to produce even with advanced manufacturing techniques. Some of their wood is harder than titanium. You don’t ‘just cut down’ a tree made of that.”

Brewster rolled his eyes. “Whatever. In any event, they will honor the wishes of Emperor Delacruz and provide the shipment of Intrajan wood. We will not be denied by the Emperor’s subjects.”

Callum couldn’t believe the naivete of the captain. Though wary of the ire of the man, Callum forged ahead. “May I remind you, Pinnatin is not technically a member of the Empire. And if they say they cannot provide that much Intrajan, perhaps we should take them at their word.”

Brewster stood and towered over Tyrie. “If the Emperor claims Pinnatin IV as his, then it is his! They are therefore the lawful subjects of the Empire of Man’s twelve planets, and this short, little rebellion against the wishes of the Emperor will be put down. Are we quite clear on that, Mr. Tyrie?”

Callum was saved from responding by a sensor tech. “Contact! Bearing 012 zulu 353, range…uh…9000 yards.”

“9000 yards?” bellowed Brewster. “What the devil are you doing, Hopkins? How did it get so close before you saw it?”

“Unknown, sir. Scanning the vessel now.” Brewster paced while he waited. Hopkins said, “Sir…ah…”

“Spit it out, man!”

“…It seems to be made of wood. That’s why the scanners didn’t pick it up.”

“Oh that’s bull!” raged Brewster. “Gimme a magnified visual.”

When the screen updated, nearly all the bridge crew gasped. It looked nothing like a ship. Clusters of stout trees with vibrant, healthy leaves, grew in all directions from a single point.

“How could any plant survive in the vacuum of space?” said Brewster. He chuckled. “I never expected to find driftwood in orbit.”

Hopkins spoke again. “It’s no driftwood, Cap’n. It’s changing course to intercept. Accelerating at…oh my god.”

“What, Hopkins?”

“700 gravities, sir!”

“That’s not bloody possible!”

Ensign Pepperdyne spoke up. “Incoming transmission, sir. Audio only.”

Captain Brewster eyed Callum. “Is this how it goes, Tyrie?”

“Pretty much, sir.”

“I suppose they’re about to beg for mercy,” said Brewster.

“Really?” said Callum. “After that demonstration, you’re still confident?”

Brewster waved away at Callum. “It’s a fucking space tree, Tyrie. Open the channel, Pepperdyne. On speakers.”

A low, earthy voice played acrossthe bridge. “EMS Achilles. Lower your shields and heave to. Prepare to be boarded.”

Brewster raised his eyebrows, but he continued undeterred. “Unknown ship. I speak with the authority of Emperor Delacruz, Ruler of the Empire of Man. “You will halt and…”

“Drop your shields, Achilles. Do it now.”

“Vessels of the Empire halt for no one! You will…” A flash of light filled the bridge.

“Sir! Shields are down.”

“Weapons offline!”

“Incoming transmission. Audio and visual.”

Brewster had begun to sweat. “I’ll take that, Pepperdyne. At last, I get to tell this pissant off.”

“I’m readying my ‘I told you’ speech,” said Callum, unimpressed by the bluster.

The view of the tree spaceship changed. It was replaced by an inhuman face made of wood with antlers of oak. Branches grew from his shoulders and back. “EMS Achilles. The Arboreal Empire has tolerated your Empire’s excesses enough. As long as you behaved, we accepted our trade agreement. But now you come to force us to comply to your wishes? The 500 worlds of the Arboreal Empire will now crush this short, little rebellion of yours. Prepare to be boarded, or die!”

“Oh yeah, you told him off alright.” murmured Callum.

“Piss off, Tyrie!”

Each week, The Speakeasy hosts a writing challenge, inspired by a sentence and a media prompt. Sorry, this is not my best work. I had a lot of distractions as I attempted to write this. The story is probably as scattered as my head is right now. Still, I hope it entertains. This week’s prompt may be found here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/153-open/

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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37 Responses to A Short, Little Rebellion – The Speakeasy

  1. Silverleaf says:

    Achilles. Hehe. That’s quite a suitable name! Love the character development almost as much as the picture you paint of the Arboreal face and the disdain coming from it.


  2. Michael says:

    This was brilliant! Loved the exchange between Brewstar and Callum. This reminded me so much of Warhammer 40K.


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. They are two very different men. I’m glad the clash of their personalities entertained. I’m quite familiar with W40K, but I’ve never played it. Did they have space battles in that game? Anyway, thanks much for reading and stopping in to comment. I appreciate it. 🙂


  3. A.D. Everard says:

    The Arboreal Empire branching out. Heeheehee – Oops, sorry about that. 😀


  4. Christine says:

    You’ve created a fantastic little scene here – right up my ally! I laughed out loud at “It’s a fucking space tree, Tyrie.” Your dialog is just great!


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Christine. Good to know there’s other fans of the fantastic out there. I’m glad you enjoyed the dialog. I had hoped some of it would get a laugh. 😉 Thanks for stopping in and reading!


  5. jannatwrites says:

    Captain’s having a bad day 🙂 I like the subtle humor in this, from the naming of the ships to the bickering of Callum and Tyrie.


    • EagleAye says:

      Oh yes he is. What with Callum poking at him with a stick…*ahem*…and having his substantial ego deflated by a bloody space tree, it’s going poorly. It will get worse when he must report to the Emperor that he was bested by a plant. Thanks much for stopping in and adding your thoughts. I appreciate it! 🙂


  6. Another brilliant story with a wonderful twist! That “underestimated locals” issue was true in New Zealand during the NZ Wars when the British found themselves fighting indigenous people who’d picked up all the latest British military techniques from the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, added their own twists for local purposes, and were dealing them back to the British, in spades. The British did win, but it took approx 10,000 regimental soldiers to quash around 2000 toa – a huge proportion of the standing British army of the day, tied up in a tiny and impoverished corner of Empire.


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you Matthew! And there’s a piece of history I didn’t know about. Very interesting. When I was writing this piece I didn’t intend for Brewster to use a British dialect, but it slipped in anyway. I think I was subconsciously thinking about more of Britain’s overconfident military forays. One in particular against the Zulus in Africa. That British unit need not have been decimated were it not for overconfidence. There’s plenty of historical examples to draw from, and I think that’s what inspired this story. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing a new piece of history for me.


  7. shailajav says:

    Well, he had that coming, didn’t he? All that bluster and froth! Talk about opinionated 🙂 Good post there!


    • EagleAye says:

      Oh yes, he did. He simply couldn’t take advice from an expert. Bluster and froth indeed! I’d hate to serve under a guy like that. Thank you so much, and thanks for commenting! 🙂


  8. nabanita says:

    haha I really liked the names you’ve used and the exchange was really funny! wonderful take on the prompt


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Nabanita! I’m glad their bickering amused. Also happy to see people enjoy the ship’s name. Thanks much for sharing your thoughts. I hope to enjoy more visits from you in the future. 🙂


  9. jstansfeld says:

    Good dialogue and an intriguing take on the quote. Some people just don’t get it!
    Cheerio, Jane


  10. Peggy Smith says:

    OOOH shades of the evil dancing apple trees of OZ,,,,,again love your image—-nation!


    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! These must be their long lost brothers. Except these guys don’t throw apples, they throw world-killer asteroids and Tera-watt Proton beams. Much meaner guys. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!


  11. Loved the imagery and the idea of a space tree that is closing in fast. I read faster as the action heated up. I even held my breath. Exciting and a bit funny. Like Nabanita, I liked the bickering. I thought it was funny. Course if I seen a space tree coming at me, I would be getting my freak on too. LOL Very cool story! ♥


    • EagleAye says:

      So cool. I love to hear you read faster as the story went a long. I know I do that when things are getting exciting. I’m glad you got a chuckle too from all the bickering. These guys don’t like each other and I wanted to highlight that. Thanks so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it.


  12. atrm61 says:

    Never knew I could start loving sci-fi till I started reading your tales Eric!This was funny,imaginative and very believable :-)Loved the characterizations-that Captain sure was arrogant and glad he got his comeuppance !Imagine being defeated by an Arboreal emperor,lol!Emperor Delacruz won’t be happy at all 😀 Great job again.


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I expect Emperor Delacruz will be most displeased. Such prideful men like Brewster meet their comeuppance one day or the other. And when you get shamed by a plant, you’ve really been a bad boy. 😉 I’m so glad you’re enjoying Science Fiction. I’m happy to have another convert. Thanks so much for your thoughts and comments. They give me the fuel to write more. 🙂


      • atrm61 says:

        Yes,I can envision the Emperor’s wrath already;-) AM definitely a convert -but only for your stories-love the humour you add and the tone is always so refreshing:-)


  13. Suzanne says:

    Haha! I love this. Especially the way the Arboreal Empire echoed the little rebellion bit at the end – nicely done. Another fun and creative take on the prompts, Eric! 🙂


    • EagleAye says:

      Hehe. I was hoping folks would catch that symmetry. I think in the future we should be nicer to our trees, otherwise something like this might happen. Thank you so much, Suzanne. I really appreciate it. 🙂


  14. Indira says:

    Very original idea of space tree. I loved and enjoyed everything in this story.


  15. Esther says:

    Haha! I love the technology/biology you go into here. An innovative take on space travel. You could definitely expand this into a longer work of fiction.


    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you, Esther! I might do that, but probably to have the trees as spaceships. I suspect Captain Brewster might have “disappeared” after this episode. 😉


  16. Pingback: winners of the speakeasy at yeah write #153 | the speakeasy at yeah write

  17. tedstrutz says:

    Arboreal Empire… indeed! Good story! I’m back… I have to get caught up on your space story with the chick.


  18. Shey says:

    Never underestimate loggers, ever. Good story EA. 🙂


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