Swift Passage

The alien planet hung like a pool of blue. Their only stop on a one-way journey.

Their vessel’s final dregs of energy concealed them in orbit while their shuttle fell into the alien atmosphere.

The violent entry rattled the shuttle, pilot and crew breathed deep lungfuls, fighting to clear their minds, to imagine a paradise so near.

Generations spent drifting through the void had corroded all memories of their world from before.

This or death.

The pilot’s expert hands flew across controls – navigating, maintaining, adjusting – to grant the first of their last a swift passage into their new world.

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


April 1 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a swift passage. You can take inspiration from any source. Who is going where and why. What makes it swift? Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

Not Cause for Celebration

A metal ship crossed the perfect sector.

Great Mind opened a path beside the ship as a youngling’s human host floated out.

Great Mind pulled the host through and sealed the path. The ship drifted onward, oblivious.


“Ugh-” the host, a human female, stumbled beneath unexpected gravity.

“We’re saved!” came a voice in her head.

She stared at the alien structures, the creatures beyond.

“You are home,” began Great Mind, “we aren’t yet part of your second world. It’s not safe.”

“No-“

“When we supplant an Elder, you’ll be returned. For now, you are home.”

“This is not home.”

© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner


February 18, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story where a character is in the right place at the right time. It may be cause for celebration! Go where the prompt leads!

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

Twenty-Fifth

Routine suit-up. Routine airlock cycle. Routine tether anchorage.

Her crew-mate let her step out first. The field of stars took her breath away, as always, even on her twenty-fifth spacewalk.

Everyone left her in silence, letting her enjoy it as they said she should. Someday, it will be her last.

Then she spotted her tether, drifting ahead of her, loose. She turned, quick as the propulsion bursts let her.

No warnings. No comms.

No ship.

Alone in that field of stars, heart pounding, mind racing, she was lost.

Lost.

Then they arrived.

She never dreamed she’d visit another world.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner


December 10 2020: Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something a character never dreamed would happen. The situation can be fortuitous, funny, or disappointing.

Submissions now closed. Read the full collection here.

Strength in Peace

Leaves swayed at the ship’s landing. Its team stepped out onto the alien world, fully suited, protected from its thick atmosphere.

Deep violet vegetation sprawled toward the horizons ahead. Behind, an ocean of scarlet brine swelled and oozed.

“Mission here is to survey, we need to claim this world before the enemy,” the commander said.

Rustling leaves distracted the Earth-born galactic soldiers.

A creature approached.

“That’s a-”

“It has a horn.”

“Should we apprehend it?”

“Commander?”

“It’s-” said the commander, transfixed, “a unicorn.”

It eyed them, silently inspiring them to kneel in surrender.

“Stand down,” the commander said.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner


I tapped run and the robotic creature shifted smoothly through the commands I’d coded. Satisfied, I packed it up for the presentation.

“Gonna tell me?” someone said, “somethin’ fierce, I bet.”

“A dragon, ya think?” another said.

Head held proud, I made my way to the platform.

“I chose to create something of legends,” I said, “something of the first world, something that inspired billions.”

Murmurs rippled through the crowd.

I revealed the creature.

Several scoffed, others laughed, “ridiculous.”

I tapped run and the crowd hushed, transfixed. The life-sized unicorn awoke.

“Something that’ll inspire peace through these wars.”

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Raven

> 2237 – 03 – 07

Starship Raven.

Departing Earth orbit.

Onboard systems reduced.

Power rerouted to propulsion system.

Maximum acceleration.

Destination arrival time: 42,327 Earth years.


> 44,564 – 07 – 23

Destination reached.

Asteroid mining drones dispatched.

Planetary entry sequence complete.

Metamorphosis protocol activated.

Generational fleet arrival: 27,424 EY.


> 57,309 – 04 – 14

Sea levels 62%.

Atmospheric composition: 12% oxygen, 81% carbon dioxide.

Surface vegetation 77%.

Habitation modules 4%.

Fleet arrival: 14,679 EY.


> 71,988 – 10 – 17

Ecosystem 100%.

Habitation modules 100%.

Human fleet population 72%.

Starship Raven shutdown.


> 73,651 – 03 – 07

“Raven, help, activate.”

Systems rebooting.

Ecosystem: critical.

Human population 2%.

Repair protocols activated.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Ice

“It’s ready. Transferring now,” says the VR technician.

“Thanks,” I say, studying the new data floating in my vision.

I equip a well-worn headset.

Ripples of code give way to a silent darkness, only a lone light shines from behind onto icy ground. I’m pulled along by a gradual acceleration, subtle but present.

A chunk of ice breaks and passes by amongst shimmering dust.

I watch it disappear.

Behind, I see the ship, my body somewhere inside, on the bridge, watching this drone study this icy world.

“Now we can walk on comets,” I say, taking a step.

© 2020-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

Gathering the Harvest

Picturesque Earth lay peaceful, to the untrained eye. 

One final pod slid up its cable to a ship in orbit.

I peered down from the viewing deck.
A streak of fire. Then an explosion. The cable rocked.

Another streak. Closer.

Pod integrity lost. Passengers compromised.

Ship sirens wailed. Incredible engines rumbled to life. The cable detached and drifted loose.

“Human harvest complete, hey?” a man stepped in close, watching the Earth shrink away.

“Failed, more like it,” I said, distancing myself.

“Ah well,” he winked, “I’m happy with the new Mars crop.”

My stomach turned, where’s the training deck?

© 2017-2021 Rebecca Glaessner

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