The Novotny Device – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Alastair Forbes

The Novotny Device

Kira wondered if she was safe. She carried a lawn chair under the night sky. The smell of freshly mowed grass wafted sweetly under her nose. Her sister, Suzanne passed her by saying, “Hurry up, sis. You don’t want to miss it!” She scrambled on ahead with another lawn chair.

Kira still wasn’t sure what “it” was. She was beginning to doubt the sanity of her older sister. She acted as though she lived safely in Kentucky, not on an alien planet far from settled space. The government ‘strongly’ recommended against traveling to the colony of Warfield III. Three different aggressive alien species prowled the region. Any of them might attack the weakly protected colony.

She settled in beside Suzanne and wondered if she’d made a mistake coming here. “So what are we waiting for?” she said.

“Oh, you’ll see. You’ll love it,” said Suzanne’s husband, Norm. He flipped another burger on the grill.

More people gathered, friends and neighbors of the Hansens. Tables were setup and covered with bowls of potato salad, mac & cheese, and jello. Soon a group of thirty chattered excitedly about the upcoming event.

Kira looked over at Richard as he wore a peculiar looking helmet. Suzanne’s son had been born with autism, like so many of the children on Warfield III. His head lolled from side to side. Kira felt sad that the children would be unable to help their family develop the colony. She noticed a cord leading from Richard’s helmet to a bluish machine, resting on a folding table, beside a bowl of three-bean salad. Kira pointed, “What’s that for?”

Suzanne said, “Oh that’s for Richard. It’s a Novotny Device. It helps him.”

Kira wondered what exactly it did. Before she had a chance to ask she saw the first explosion. It flashed red across the sky. “Ooh!” chanted the crowd. Another blast rocked the sky. “Aaah!”

The explosions were massive, far larger than any fireworks she’d ever seen before. Soon she smiled along with the crowd, chanting along with them. At last she felt a sense of normalcy. It was human beings doing something that Earth humans had enjoyed for centuries. The explosions became more frequent. Soon the crowd was cheering loudly between bites of hot dogs and apple pie. After an hour, Kira wondered how such a small colony could afford such an impressive fireworks display. “Suzanne,” she said. “Does this happen often?”

“Oh, not too often. Last one was 7 months ago. It was the Kirukians, I think.”

“Peraculbi,” corrected Norm.

“Oh that’s right.”

“What are those?” asked Kira.

Suzanne took a sip of wine. “Invasion fleets.”

Kira felt cold inside. “Invasion?” She pointed into the sky. “But what about the fireworks?”

“Oh, those aren’t fireworks,” said Norm. He handed her a hotdog. “That’s another invasion fleet.”

“We’re being invaded?” choked Kira.

“Yep,” said Norm, swigging his beer.

Kira looked at the unconcerned people smiling and eating around her. “Ah, shouldn’t we be running for shelter?” Perhaps she was right in the first place. Suzanne and everyone else on this planet had gone stark-raving mad!

“Nah!” scoffed Suzanne. She pointed to her son. “Richard and the others have it handled.”

“But he’s autistic! What can he do?”

Suzanne grinned. “A lot, with the Novotny Device.”

Norm sat beside her. “Yep. The aliens look at us and see no spaceships, no planetary defenses, and think we’re an easy target. We were, until the Novotny Device came along. The aliens update their shields, their stealth, their weapons, and none of it ever helps ’em. You see, the Novotny Device only works with autistics, and we’ve got a lot of them hooked up to the devices. It allows them to focus incredible mental energy on a single point, like a spaceship. The ships just blow up, and the aliens cain’t figure how we’re doing it. So they just keep on coming back, over and over again.”

Kira tried to take it all in. “So you’re not worried about the alien invasion fleets.”

Suzanne patted her hand. “Nope. Way I see it, it’ll only be a few years more before the aliens wipe themselves out.”

“It’ll be a sad day,” sighed Norm.

“I know,” sighed Suzanne. “I do love the fireworks.”
This is written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Each week, Alastair Forbes offers a photo as a writing prompt for flash fiction. The photo above is this week’s prompt. Look here for more stories based upon the photo above:

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.
This entry was posted in Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Novotny Device – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. henrygame says:

    Excellent story. I was surprised by its direction and development. That’s a good thing! I am looking forward to the next one sir

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I’m always happy when I can still surprise a reader. Glad you enjoyed that. I’ll try to keep the unexpected coming. Thanks so much, and thanks for the visit! I look forward to seeing you next time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. List of X says:

    With that amount of aggressive alien activity, I hope their Novotny device wasn’t made in China. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al says:

    I don’t believe a flash fiction based around someone who is autistic before. Having a son on the Autistic Spectrum, this made me smile. Although he is not mentally and physically disabled as a result of it, he has Asperger’s Syndrome, the fact that you used an autistic person and used some of their mental prowess, is fantastic. Thank you Eric

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Ah yes. I’m familiar with Asbergers. It might also be that he is quite the genius at something. Have you heard of the TV show, “Scorpion?” It’s about a group of super-geniuses solving difficult problems. I love the show. They are all so smart they have difficulty dealing with people. So that’s a new spin on the heroes in a TV show. I’m glad this touched you close to home in a positive way. Thanks so much, Al! 🙂


  4. Tightly written. I look forward to the novel/novella version.


  5. Eric, I agree that this was an excellent story. You held off the explanation just long enough to build great tension. Good description. Well done. Happy Holidays! 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! I wanted the tension to ramp up for a good finale. I’m glad the description worked. I wanted it to “feel” like a 4th of July celebration. Thanks so much for the positive critique. Happy New Year to you! 🙂


  6. Indira says:

    Very interesting story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. trishsplace says:

    Great story. Unexpected.

    Liked by 1 person

Don't be shy. Say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s