Science Fiction

 

Science Fiction sample (1400 words)

For Amanda, the jump was instantaneous.

One minute, she and her college classmates were messing around with an experimental Faraday cage, the next she landed on her ass in a chilly metal room. She hastily pulled her feet out of the six-foot cylinder she lay partially in, wondering if she’d somehow fallen out of its open side. But that would imply she’d been inside the tall tube in the first place…

“Lucky I have so much padding.” She groaned. Wisps of acrid smoke stung her nose as she pushed herself to her feet. Her body had no right to ache as much as it did, sending needles of pain through her nerves, as if she’d been forced around a gym circuit, twice. After hitting the metal ground—the deck—hard, she’d bruise, but at least she’d have no broken bones. To her dismay, she discovered she’d lost a shoe, and torn the sleeve of her sweatshirt. Her jeans were coated with fine dust, which she was largely unsuccessful in brushing off.

“Where in the hell am I? Where’s the college?” Amanda couldn’t help but wonder if she and her friends had hit gold and accidentally invented teleportation.

Wouldn’t that be totally mind-blowing? But where have I teleported to? Not too far, she prayed. As exciting as the concept sounded—a world-changing idea—Amanda would have to find her way home again. Hopefully her jaunt had delivered her within walking distance of the college grounds.

It hadn’t. She limped clumsily toward a doorway, passing through a forest of tubes, similar to the one she’d fallen out of. Each frost-covered cylinder stood six feet tall, three feet in diameter. The air hummed with purpose, a sure sign of hidden machinery.

Her dazed mind had no idea what it all meant.

The first window she found—more of a porthole, really—showed a deep, black field, sparsely dotted with steady points of light.

It’s night time, she thought. I must have landed on the other side of the world. But she could see no ground, only stars. “No, that can’t be right. There’s always grass, or trees, or water. Why can’t I see the terrain?”

A quiet humming, only a faint irritation at first, had grown steadily louder in the past minute, setting the floor buzzing. She pressed her hands to the metal around the porthole and her blond hair rose into the air, spreading out like a dandelion seed.

“Holy shit!” She pulled back, and sparks leapt after her retreating fingers. The metallic whine grew louder, shaking every surface; she pressed her hands to her ears, staring around in panic.

The floor shifted sideways beneath her feet. Outside the window, the light-dotted blackness rippled. Bright points turned red, stretched into straight lines, then vanished completely.

“Oh, no. No, no, no…” A shifting star field could only mean one thing. Having watched a hundred movies, and countless TV series, she instantly recognized the superluminal leap of a starship. As impossible as the idea seemed, she now moved faster than light.

“Stop this thing, I want to go home!” she yelled at the ceiling. The technology didn’t exist, it couldn’t exist. Impossible. A dream. It must be. Amanda pinched herself hard and yelped, but her surroundings didn’t change. She wanted to wake up in her own bed, breathe a sigh of relief, and get on with her life.

But destiny had other plans for her. Muttering and shaking her head, Amanda opted to go left, along the metal corridor, passing other round windows as she limped. Frustrated by her clumsiness, she pushed off the remaining shoe and kicked it away. Her own distorted reflection gaped back at her from a porthole.

As she walked, she noted textural details; the smooth metal walls, and occasional scuff marks. Impressed by the depth of her imagination, she picked up the bitter smell of old oil, and metal, while the deep vibrations of the ship’s engines moved through her sock-covered feet. Shivering, she tugged her sleeves down over her hands and crossed her arms for warmth. In space, the chill ought to be expected. even in a dream.

How am I going to imagine the crew? Human or alien? A door hissed open ahead of her, not sliding aside, so much as separating into four chunky sections and retracting into the walls. A wave of noise washed gently over her, buzzing, clicking, whining, and beeping. Light reflected from the metal walls, dazzling her after the dimly-lit corridor. Taken aback by the plethora of detail, Amanda walked cautiously through the doorway onto what was undoubtedly the bridge.

The first thing she noticed, however, wasn’t the view screen, or the control stations. Her eyes were instead drawn to a trail of scattered clothing, discarded boots, and the naked man sprawled across a worn leather swivel chair. His athletic figure was the nut-brown of enthusiastic sessions at the tanning salon—or the skin of a Spanish builder. White hair provided a startling contrast, including his eyebrows, and the thatch of pubic hair visible past his casually-draped thigh.

 

“Oh. My. God,” Amanda whispered. The man had a leg thrown over the arm of his chair. One hand stroked lazily; his eyes were fixed upon the screen ahead, which showed… She wasn’t sure what it showed. Multiple colors swirled and streamed, a seemingly random display that made no sense, although it clearly aroused the brown-skinned guy. She watched in horrified fascination as he pleasured himself, unable to tear her eyes away.

Drawn by the weight of her shocked gaze, he finally noticed her presence.

“Nagsath!” he yelled angrily. “Troksith wetnell fremmoth!”

“I…” Amanda backpedaled. “I don’t… didn’t mean to…” She raised her hands defensively.

“Yabrith!” He scrambled to his feet in a panic, and snatched up the closest piece of clothing, which happened to be a shirt. When he held it against his body, upside down, the material formed a tent in front of his groin. “Terrabalit seeth wetnell!”

“I don’t speak Martian!” she cried. “English! Speak English!”

He narrowed his eyes as a computerized voice spoke.

“Identifying Earth language, English. Proceed,” the ceiling instructed a second later.

Or had she imagined the words coming from above his head?

“What doing here?” he yelled brokenly. “Why awake?”

“Awake?” she asked, glancing upward. The words had definitely come from the ceiling. When he spoke, unintelligible noises emerged from his mouth, but passable English followed an instant later from above her head. A translation system?

“Yes, yes, awake,” the ceiling speaker said. “Transport should have kept you in stasis. We not at market. Yet.”

“Wait, wait. What market? You kidnapped me? On purpose?” A stream of gibberish immediately followed her words as the ship translated her protest for him.

He rolled his eyes. “Affirmative. Yes, I kidnapped you, and yes, deliberate.”

“Put me the hell back, NOW!”

“Not possible. Ship piloted on automatic. Unable to change course, even if I wished.”

“Wait, no, there must be some way to stop this thing.” She ran to the nearest workstation and randomly slapped colored buttons with her outspread hands.

“You flatsqueak! Stop that!” He leapt forward and pulled her away from the console by the arms. Amanda managed to wriggle out of his grasp, but he grabbed her around the waist and wrestled her to the floor.

“Stop resisting,” the ceiling instructed. “Dangerous. You might fracture valuable items.”

“Might what?” She fought to get free, but when he rolled on top of her and pinned her arms wide, the fight ended. Trembling with fury, she glared at her captor, as his body heat burned through her clothes, reminding her of his nudity. Hard masculinity pressed against her midriff, and she belatedly realized the danger he represented.

“Please get off me.” Her voice wavered with growing fear.

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Uh…I’ll scream?”

“Futile. Will not achieve desired results. We are the only ones awake on this vessel.”

“If I scream, I’ll wake everyone else up.”

“They won’t rouse. In stasis, as you were supposed to be.”

“Sorry about that. Now, please get off me.”

“Only if you promise not to interfere with the controls. You might inadvertently operate an airlock, or overload the reactor.”

“I only tried to turn us around,” Amanda muttered.

“Do you have operator knowledge of a Mark Seven Alarite cargo hauler?”

“Is that what we’re in?”

“If you’d overloaded the reactor, we’d transform into a cloud of fast-moving debris.”

“Sorry. That wasn’t my plan.”

“Is it safe to cease restraint?”

“Yes, I promise not to blow us to bits.”

 

~

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