I Won't Let Her Kill Me!

Author : Michael “Freeman” Herbaugh

She was trying to KILL him! Well, he wasn’t going to stand for that. Sure he only existed on paper but that didn’t mean he had any less of a soul nor that he did not want to live same as everyone else. He had seen her kill off too many of his friends to let her just type him into oblivion. Segundino84 had been consumed by a planet, Jack had been killed out in the desert, Wilson was killed by some deep sea creature and just recently his partner Sarah had been sucked out an airlock. Well he wouldn’t go down without a fight.

Every time she’d steer him toward a sun with no hope of surviving he would have to go back while she slept and add that he found an escape vector. If she had him sacrifice himself for a martian colony he would have to go back and not only delete that but re-write it so that not only did he survive but that he had also managed to save the colony from the ravages of the Blight.

He had managed to master the pages of his environment and save himself from the evil mistress who tried incessantly to destroy him. But now, now he was learning to control the environment in the mistress’ world as well. If it came down to him or her, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be him. The scissors would help, possibly. Or perhaps he could use the vacuum cleaner. Then it dawned on him. The microwave! Yes, that would do nicely. Death by reheated pizza–how poetic. Someone should write a story about that!


Author : Daniel Longwing

The jewelry tinkled like wind-chimes as it fell over the candlesticks and crystal. Gently, Momsdroid replaced the lid to the box with slender polymer fingers. It shouldered the shopping bag and walked out into the hall. It looked first left, than right, a confused expression on its face.

The hall light came on with a quick mechanical snap. Momsdroid turned to see Timothy with a baseball bat in hand. A look of shock crossed Tim’s face. “Momsdroid? You scared the heck out of me. What are you doing active at this hour?”

Momsdroid stared back at him blankly. “Greetings Timothy Anders!” It shouted at top volume. “Do you suffer from shame in bed!? I have latest stuff! You have more success with women and impress them with your power and stamina in bed!”

Tim turned bright red, and then swore a few times. The door to his sister’s room opened, and he looked past Momsdroid as she stared blearily into the hall. “Sis! Quick, go downstairs and shut off the router, the DSL too, just pull the plug on them.”

Momsdroid turned and started walking calmly towards the stairs. Tim cussed some more, than jogged up behind Momsdroid and yanked a cable at the base of its spine. Momsdroid froze, looking confused again. “The locomotion manipulation driver has encountered an unexpected error and needs to close. Please contact your system administrator regarding this issue.”

“Rootkits, sodding malware. Mom must’ve had an infected web-site read to her or something. I kept warning her that she needed to update the security patches.”

“She did” Rachel replied as she rubbed sleep from her eyes. “This must bee some new exploit.”

“Robosoft crap.” Tim grumbled. “Mom’s not home, and if I hadn’t woken up it’d be halfway to the highway with its loot in tow. It’s probably following some phone-home instruction.”

Rachel yawned. “Robosoft’s not that bad, and all of Mom’s cooking software works on it.”

“I know mom’s not that tech savvy, but honestly Rachel…”

Tim’s voice was drowned out as Momsdroid began shouting again. “Rachel Anders!? Are you overweight Rachel Anders!? You have seen it on ’60 Minutes’ and read the BBC News report — now find out just what everyone is talking about. Suppress your appetite and feel full and satisfied all day long with…” Tim yanked another plug, this time at the base of Momsdroid’s neck.

“That’s it. I’m installing Robonix.”

Alienus Sapienpula

Author : J. S. Kachelries

The spaceship was shaped like a flattened football. It had no obvious external doors or windows. Although it appeared to be metallic, we couldn’t cut it, penetrate it with X-rays, or scratch it with a diamond. The only thing we had to evaluate was an encrypted panel on the port side that contained a ten by ten matrix of symbols and buttons. The ship was being guarded by a platoon of heavily armed solders. General Arthur McBride’s angry face was inches from mine. “Goddamnit, Professor, you’ve been studding this blasted thing for a week. Can you open it or not?”

“I believe so, general,” I said. “I believe the key is this panel. Look at the first four black symbols. They contain two, three, five, and seven dots each, respectively. Obviously, it’s a prime number sequence. The six white buttons immediately next to them contain eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen dots. The next prime number in the sequence is eleven. Therefore, the correct answer is the fourth white button. There are nine more “questions,” each one more difficult than the one above it. The last four involve Newtonian physics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory. I think that when you answer all ten questions correctly, something will happen, possibly the ship will open. The odds of answering all ten questions correctly at random are 60,466,176 to one. Therefore, the beings that sent this ship only want an intelligent species to decipher the lock. Apparently, they can’t be bothered with dumb life.”

“If you know the correct answers Professor, enter them now.”

Against my better judgment, I depressed the appropriate buttons. Seconds later, a door slid open. The spaceship was empty, except for a one foot metallic cube in the center.

The general peered inside, smiling ear to ear. “Fantastic! If we can figure out this technology, our dominance will become absolute. No more commies, no more religious fanatics, no more goddamn peace lovin’ liberal scum interfering with our campaign to preserve the American way of life. How long to you can figure out how this thing works?”

“Whoa, slow down general,” I pleaded. “I’m not so sure this ship can be perverted into a weapon. I need some time to figure out why we needed an intelligence test to open it. There must be a logical reason. I have some ideas what this ship is, but I need time to think about it.”

“Professor, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. Figure it out A.S.A.P., understood!” The general turned and entered the spaceship. An instant later, the door slammed shut, and the spaceship shot upward through the hangar roof.

As I stared at the stars through the twenty foot hole, I said to no one in particular, “For instance, general, I think this spaceship could be used to collect specimens of alien ‘intelligent’ life, capture them, and bring them to a laboratory for study.” I’m predicting that the general will make a ‘damn’ interesting specimen.

Present Tense

Author : Ian Burke

“Today” marks the end of history. Yesterday it was June 25th, 1995 AD (CE, if you prefer). “Today” can be marked in no such terms. Yesterday, “today” was the 26th of June, but “now,” none of that matters anymore. This “morning,” the Hole opened up – the Hole, which began in the year formerly known as 2309 and “now” reaches back to what “was” “today.” “Now” the fourth dimension is just as easily navigable as the first three.

But it will not stop “here.” The hole will continue to tunnel back through history, tearing up the past. There is talk of trying to save a small part of the timeline – a true historical preserve! – although the methods behind this are unclear at best. The Hole will not stop until it stretches to the soon-to-be former Beginning of Time and our universe, once a long string of yesterdays, will become one single “today.”

The Hero and the Man of Saiyen

Author : Hannah F.

The man of Saiyen was small and nervous-looking, not nearly as mystical as I expected, wandering into these ancient strongholds; like a Peasant or maybe a half-blood Noble boy, the kind that spent the days with their faces in paper.

“Is that a crossbow? Fascinating,” he said hurriedly. This was a panic reaction; I let him go, knowing sooner or later he’d run out of chatter and shut his teeth. “Obviously the surveillance devices haven’t been working but we’d theorized that the environment lacked enough stability for your society to develop even this kind of basic automation in your projectile weapons…” He was sweating and I had to chew my tongue to avoid a grin. I’d only caught about half of that ‘cos of his accent, but I understood the important part. He didn’t know what I wanted, so he’d started to babble, hoping I’d latch onto some topic and get the bolt out of his face more quickly.

I took a careful step back and laid the weapon down, still drawn and dangerous. The Saiyentist looked at it blankly. He knew what it was and what it was for, could wager what it’d feel like if I used it, but didn’t seem eager to try wresting it from me.

Eyes on him I unlaced the hard-hide pouch at my belt and lifted the cloth-wrapped vial from it. The glass tube and its case were from my uncle, a gift after my Modding. He’d dug it from the ruins of a building like this one, an eerily smooth white shell he’d never been able to find again.

“I want more of this,” I said, and folded back the soft, thick wool, cupping the thing in my hand in case the small man tried to snatch it, or dash it to the floor. The crossbow, though, cautioned him and he merely regarded the light-blue liquid with wide eyes.

“Where did you get that?” he began, but changed his mind when he saw the look in my eyes. “Do you know what it is?”

“I’ve been told it’s a poison, but only to certain natures. Won’t slay a man, but it’ll break down a dragon to its elements in under an arc.”

“It’s an emergency denaturing solution. It works by breaking down the chemicals in the cells and-” I was curious as a kitten but I must’ve looked impatient. “The important thing is, it works the way you say it does. Which is why we’ve kept it here in Obbsreg. But if you brought back a significant amount- even if we had a significant amount- it would interfere with the Ancestral Plan. As much as I’d like to help you I’m as bound by my forebears as you are.” He frowned. “You shouldn’t even be here, of course…”

“Wait.” If I had understood what he just said, I was about to be very, very angry. “You mean your ancestors are responsible for keeping the drake-poison from my people?” I tied off the laces of my pouch and retrieved my crossbow. “And you just… what? Study us?”

The Saiyentist frowned at that, in spite of the terror that’d returned to his face. After a moment puzzling my assumption out, he began to laugh. I could do nothing but stare as he worked out his panic in a giggle-fit, wiping tears from eyes that were still wide ‘cos of the proximity of my crossbow to his gut.

“Who said anything about my ancestors being responsible for this?”

I was going to have one hell of a tale, whenever I got home. “Tell me everything.”