Mary Sue

Author : William Tracy

The heroine was surrounded by towering aliens. Their gleaming carapaces reflected her shapely body, a flowing robe hugging her curves. Their glittering, faceted eyes took in the sight of her hands clutching the gash that revealed the ample curve of her heaving bosom. Their leader leaned forward and spoke, its breath foul with the stink of rot. “What have we here?”

She bared her brilliant white teeth in defiance. “Lieutenant Sarathura of the Terran Alliance.”

“A spy,” it noted the datapad gripped in her immaculate nails. “The penalty is death.”

Another alien stepped forward with a curved, jagged blade that reflected Sarathura’s deep blue eyes. As it raised its arms to make the killing blow, a bolt of plasma exploded in its face like a glowing flower. Sarathura gasped with joy.

“Our craft is docked back that way,” Commander Cloudstepper exclaimed in his deep, full voice. The sweat gleamed on his flexing muscles as he gunned down the monsters. The two heroes fled down the corridor, hand in hand.

“There are armored troopers after us,” Cloudstepper yelled after glancing over his broad, chiseled shoulder. “My plasma gun can’t shoot through their armor, and they’re gaining on us!”

Around the corner, they saw Officer Michealson. “Get in the airlock!” he commanded in his baritone. His thick muscles and throbbing veins bulged under his ebony skin as he lifted a heavy Gatling Laser. The weapon traced flickering calligraphy on the air as he blasted the encroaching menace.

Their craft separated from the alien ship, and jumped to lightspeed.

“They are too fast for us!” Cloudstepper gasped, staring at the instrument display. “Their heavy guns will destroy us before we reach friendly lines!”

“I have an idea,” Michealson gasped. “I could reverse the polarity of the flux capacitors, and project a warp bubble in the path of their vessel. We would have a 40% chance of trapping them in a parallel universe!”

“Let it be so!” Captain Cloudstepper commanded.

There was an ominous hum as the capacitors charged, then they went off. The quivering warp bubble was visible on the main viewscreen. The alien ship tried to dodge, but wasn’t quick enough. The bubble trapped the vessel, and both disappeared in a bright flash.

“We did it!” Sarathura gasped. “I escaped with the plans for the aliens’ secret weapon!” She and the captain embraced and kissed passionately.

* * *

Sarah pressed “Submit” and published the latest chapter of her novel to her website. “That should please the people who keep asking for more action.” She stretched, stood up.

Sarah walked into the bathroom, filled the tub. Then she undressed and climbed into the bath. After soaking for an hour, she got out and dried, then put on her bathrobe. She was putting on her slippers when when she heard a crash from in front of the house.

Sarah jogged toward the sound, then tripped over the power cord to her computer and fell into a bookcase. Sarah picked herself up, then cursed under her breath at the tear cutting her robe from her shoulder across her chest.

She stormed across the room, threw open the front door—and froze in panic.

The heroine was surrounded by towering aliens. Their gleaming carapaces reflected her shapely body, a flowing robe hugging her curves. Their glittering, faceted eyes took in the sight of her hands clutching the gash that revealed the ample curve of her heaving bosom. Their leader leaned forward and spoke, its breath foul with the stink of rot. “What have we here?”


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

Christmas on Mars

Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

During their first month on Mars, the two-man and two-woman crew made the most significant discovery in the history of mankind. While exploring the Grover Caves in the Scandia Tholi Mountains, they discovered irrefutable evidence of indigenous, but now extinct, intelligent life. The Caves turned out to be a complex underground city that had contained at least a million beings. Radiometric dating revealed that a civilized Martian society had flourished for thousands of centuries, but ultimately perished more than a billion years ago. Scientists concluded that as Mars’ metallic core solidified, the magnetic field disappeared, and the solar wind slowly, but relentlessly, blew the atmosphere into space, forcing the Martians underground. It was theorized that eventually their numbers dwindled, and their society became unsustainable. There was no archeological evidence that the Martians ultimately adapted, or that they had the technology to escape. Apparently, the Martians died along with their planet.


Dakota Dalton was driving the two-man Transportation Vehicle from the excavation site back to the base camp. Its treads kicked up two parallel red rooster tails as it trekked through the fine Martian dust. “Did you know today is Christmas?”

“I hope you’re not expecting a present,” replied Tom Barrymore. “The Mall is 100 million miles away. Besides, we’re in the middle of the Martian summer.”

“It’s summertime in Argentina too, and they’re celebrating Christmas. Com’on Tom, get in the spirit. We have so much to be thankful for. Look at that,” he said as he pointed to a bright blue-white point of light above the eastern horizon. “How can you look at the Earth and not feel…” Suddenly, the vehicle began to shake violently as the ground began to collapse beneath them. They tumbled a hundred feet into a subterranean cavern, landing upside down. Dakota found himself helplessly pinned under a heavy shipping crate. His probing fingers felt the sharp edges of his fractured right femur protruding through his coveralls. Tom was lying a few feet away. His neck was bent backward at a grotesque angle. Dakota could hear a hissing sound as air escaped from the pressurized vehicle.

A voice came from the radio. “This is Lowell Base,” said Jill Ignatuk, the mission commander. “We’re receiving an automated distress signal. Is everything okay? Hello? Dakota, Tom? Damn. If you can here me, we have your coordinates. We’ll be there in 90 minutes. Hang on.”

But even as Jill was talking, Dakota could hear the pitch of her voice change as the air in the transport became thinner and thinner. He wouldn’t last 90 minutes. Hell, he probably wouldn’t last 90 seconds. As the oxygen content dropped below critical levels, his vision began to fade as he was losing consciousness. There were flashes of light, blurry ghostlike images, then blackness.

When Dakota woke up at the Lowell Base infirmary he saw the commander’s smiling face looking down at him. Tom was standing next to her. “Commander,” Dakota asked, “how did you get to us so fast? I thought we were dead?”

“It took us over two hours to reach you two at the bottom of that hole. When we opened the airlock, you were laying side by side next to the hatch. There was blood on your uniform, but you didn’t have any wounds. When we got you both back to base, we took x-rays. Apparently, you had sustained a compound leg fracture, and Tom’s neck had been broken. How did you set your own leg, and treat Tom’s broken vertebrae?”

“It wasn’t me, Commander,” Dakota replied. “I have trouble putting on a Band-Aid.”



Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows


Author : Mark Ingram

Filius was elated. He elatedly embraced his elatedness. His skyship soared just above the bulbous clouds, kicking up wake-mist when it graced the fluffy canopy. Before him, the sun appeared to be permanently stuck in its descent at the twilight hour, casting rays against the purple sky. Purple was his favorite color, and twilight was his favorite time of day; both filled him with a deep sense of blissfulness. He blissfully brimmed with bliss.

On the deck of his majestic ship, Filius bathed in the most soothing of oils, ate the most scrumptious of comestibles, and listened to the most exquisite of melodies. He viewed the most gorgeous of sceneries, smelled the most ambrosial of aromas, and perceived the most serene of affects. All his senses were immersed with the finest delights that he could desire. He gratifyingly indulged in gratification.

And he had Omni to thank for it.

Omni was infinitely benevolent, powerful, present, and knowing. In Omni’s immeasurable wisdom, Omni had created beings in Omni’s image, and Filius was among them. Of course, Omni wanted Omni’s creations to experience the most fulfilling lives possible, so Omni, possessing the inexorable aptitude to do so, fashioned a universe without pain or negative emotions—a universe overflowing with everything pleasurable.

For the beings involved, this included the unbridled capacity to act as they willed. Any idea could be conceived of; any object could be manifest; any action could be performed. Filius knew of Omni. He could envision this infinite designer who had bestowed immeasurable potential among his children and was more potent still. He could comprehend the proceedings of the members of his species and would be joyous because of them. He joyously enjoyed his joy. He could grasp the concepts of sadness, anger, and suffering and was able to rejoice that those would never befall him. His luxuries always brought him felicity, and if for some reason they ever lost their value, he could imagine a new time, a new place, and new comforts—all as valuable.

He felicitously contemplated his felicitousness. For a second, he visualized a universe without Omni or Omni’s influences. Down to the subtlest detail, he pondered the features of the organisms there. In his mind’s eye, Filius saw them—squishy, meaty beings fighting daily to survive without Omni’s gifts in hopes of shedding the surface layer of their misery. Without a second thought, he forgot their displeasure with a smile.

As his ship sailed off toward the eternal sunset, he happily resumed his happiness.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows


Author : Ari Brill

The galaxy is a dangerous and cutthroat place, with no room for the weak. So we have always known; intrinsic in the cruel laws of nature, all organisms must fight, or die. Knowing this, we were not unprepared. With the invention of hyperdrive came the invention of the hyper-torpedo, and with the invention of artificial gravity came the invention of the Gravitic Pulverizer. Not to say war was obligatory, of course. For instance, no one suggested attacking the Calee Empire upon first contact.

On the other hand, perhaps the Human Gravitic Pulverizer, capable of ripping apart a medium-sized star cruiser, was kept in line less by peaceful intentions than by the Calee Solar Annihilator, capable of ripping apart a medium-sized star.


Realizing this, we progressed rapidly in every facet of development befitting a newly minted interstellar empire. The Solar Annihilator rots in the Calee’s museums now, incapable of matching our most inferior weapons. We made contact with hundreds of species, and subjugated scores. The Grand Fleets of the Human Armada clashed with the hulking dreadnaughts of the Orthulla, never defeated in four thousand years, and emerged victorious. Trillions of humans swarm out from our fertile worlds, and see sights undreamed of only centuries ago. But one was so strange, so foreign, so impossible, that we at first thought we had made a mistake. One species, the Arpasi, had no space fleets, no weapons, no defensive platforms of any kind. They had never fought a single foreign war in the memory of even the longest-lived race. In short, they were totally pacifistic.

Surely, the traders who reported this back must have been mistaken. Such tall tales should not be believed by reasonable men. We asked the Calee, now reconciled and our greatest trading partners, if it were true. It was. “The Arpasi…yes, of course. They are a friendly species.” Unable to understand, we sent a secret delegation to the Hive-Home of the Krashni, to inquire of this matter to the Lords of the arachnid legions. The chitters we received in reply indicated only the same: the Arpasi are a friendly species. The subtle and complex wing-dances of the avian Zirkbo relayed a similar message, as did the deep rumbles of the Oowaan, the bitter transmissions of the ancient Orthulla, and the mocking chortles of the Hyakeks. In each of the highest councils of the myriad races of this galaxy, we received only one reply: the Arpasi are a friendly species. Reflecting on our own aggressive actions and the example of the peaceful and prosperous Arpasi, the Supreme Congress of Earth made a decision.

The Arpasi homeworld would make an excellent addition to the Empire of Humanity. It only took two days for a Grand Fleet to reach the planet. As per standard procedure, after failing to obtain an immediate surrender they glassed a continent and waited. The occupation commenced soon after. The Arpasi were rich, and the sack did not end for months. Unusually, the massacres only lasted several days.

That invasion occurred last year.

Today, the remnants of our once-glorious Grand Fleets flee in terror. Bashed and broken, they search for safe port but find none, for our planets are burned and shattered corpses. The alien vessels, black as death, have not reached Earth yet but they will soon.

Only now do we understand what we were told. The Arpasi are a friendly species.

And they have very, very powerful friends.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

The Assassin

Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

When Mati Forish was five years old, she could move coins across the table using only her mind. At ten, she could make small stones levitate. As a teenager, she could fly an aerocar from the back seat. Out of fear, Mati’s parents tried to stop her from using the power. It was the “Devil’s work,” they had said. But Mati knew that this gift could make her wealthy. And Mati wanted to be wealthy. When she turned twenty one, she left home to seek her fortune. While in the city, she met a doctor. He had understood her abilities, and said that he had “friends” that could help her achieve her goals, for the right price. Late one night, in a run down clinic on the south side, they implanted an experimental telekinetic booster into her brain. Astonishingly, it magnified her natural ability a thousand fold. Thrilled with the results, Mati rushed home to tell her fiance. But when she arrived, she found him in bed with another woman. In a fit of rage, she snapped both of their necks with her telekinetic power. And, to her surprise, she enjoyed it. That was the day that “The Assassin” was born. Over the next several decades, hundreds of people died at her will. It didn’t mater if the target was a tyrant or a saint. They were just paychecks to Forish.


(Circa 2067, Medellin, Colombia) After passing through security, Forish entered the auditorium from one of the rear doors and took an isle seat in the last row. She discreetly surveyed the auditorium to identify anything, or anybody, that could interfere with her task. It was probably an unnecessary precaution, since her mode of execution was undetectable, but if Forish was anything, she was meticulous.

Forish listened indifferently as several men on an elevated stage spewed their hateful political rhetoric in an effort to pique the intensity of the partisan crowd. After an hour of rabblerousing, Cattivo Guida, a ruthless and brutal dictator, marched onto the stage and stood behind the podium. Well it’s about time, thought Forish. She sat upright and eyed the target for several minutes trying to decide how she wanted to take him out. In a public venue such as this, it would be best to do it by either a heart attack, or brain aneurysm.

Forish began to concentrate on the task of focusing and modulating the psychokinetic synapses in her brain. Gradually, an invisible energy bubble began to coalesce above her head. She strengthened it and molded it. She willed a tendril to immerge from it and elongate toward the stage. The invisible tendril began to snake its way forward above the heads of the audience and across the stage. It entered Guida’s torso and slowly spiraled up his spinal column and wrapped itself around his heart. As Forish caused the tendril to contract slightly, Guida stopped speaking and clutched the sides of the podium. The tendril squeezed Guida’s heart tighter and he dropped to his knees. Tighter still, and his face contorted in agony as his eyes pleaded for someone to help him. Finally, he collapsed to the floor, motionless. Guida’s bodyguards rushed to his side. Their feeble attempts at CPR were wasted. Guida’s heart would not beat again.

As chaos and panic flooded the audience, Forish stood up, and calmly left the auditorium. Once outside, she walked down the marble steps and hailed a hovercab. “I’m famished,” she said to the pilot. “Take me to the best restaurant in the city.”


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows