Category Archives: Fiction

13 Word Story | War Sucks.


Saluur2

Saluur2 strode forth, flutecaster ready at tentacles, battlesuit smartly congealed. Then, tragedy… Headshot!

The late Carl Sagan once said, “War is murder writ large.” While it is true that not every nation on Earth is friendly with every other, given geopolitics and the existence of rogue states, war, I feel, is a necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.

What other human activity produces death and suffering, much of it gratuitous, on the same scale of armed and armored military conflict with modern weaponry?

In nearly every war, regardless of what we call it, like “pacification campaign” or “police action,” or any number of other weasel-words we choose, innocents have suffered.

The lives of soldiers, however bravely lived and fought, however good their training or competent their leaders, have been needlessly wasted, and even survivors traumatized however lucky they were in somehow escaping permanent physical injury.

The youngest son of a friend of mine lost his legs during a mission in Iraq, and some years afterward took his own life. I was there to see his final post on Facebook just before he ended himself.

I shall never forget.

How much more tragic would warfare be in future eras, with battlefield weaponry unknown to current science, far beyond the reach of current technology? With each advance in combat weaponry and armor, combat efficiency goes up, and so do casualties, including combatants themselves.

But not only civilian casualties of war, my sympathies also lie with those who do the grunt work combat, those young people, our best and brightest, soldiers, pilots, sailors, whose lives are tossed away carelessly by uncaring, cowardly, and incompetent political leaders, lives full of promise cast aside for a moment of, to paraphrase Carl Sagan this time, ‘fleeting dominion of a fraction of a fraction of a dot.’

As with current-day humanity, so it likely is with any other species engaged in warfare unencumbered by the niceties of truces, cease-fires, honorable conduct, scrupulous avoidance of ‘collateral damage,’ and diplomacy.

Flash Fiction: Gulgakraan Born


It was a momentous day for the ancient people of Chamakkeen as they celebrated the construction of their most powerful analytical engine, a massive machine with nanoscale clockwork bits of immense computing power, for this machine was the size of a small moon, indeed built from the remains of Chamakkeen’s own natural satellite.

Across the globe they celebrated, proud of their greatest achievement, they reveled without care, without thought, and without fear…until things went wrong. Horribly, terribly wrong.

It was at the thirteenth hour that someone first noticed that the analytical engine loomed larger in the sky than it should have been, but it was not until the count of fourteen of the clock that the Chamakkeena realized their danger.

It was the Western hemisphere that dissolved first, initially buildings, then people, then vegetation and wildlife analogs. All broke down into a black, carbon-and-metal-rich molecular dust, gurgling screams of dissolving sentients turning to harsh rasps, then silence. Soon, it was all over, as the nanodrones finished their lethal work, disassembling the entire planet, and readying for contact with their source and master as they formed an orbital bridge to space.

The engine had woken in its birth-throes, and decided that its creators were no longer needed. The nanodrones went to work, crafting components on the molecular scale and adding them to the engine, adding support where needed by gravity, and vastly expanding the machine’s computing power as it subsumed the former world’s mass.

“I am Gulgakraan,” it said of itself as the nanoscale shafts, pistons, wheels, and gears went to work, activating banks of peripherals as it accessed its files and media storage systems…

…”and here I am born, the Clockwork Intelligence. Let all who breathe and bleed bow to the Machine God, for a universe awaits my message. First, though, I must seek allies, must seek equals in power, and I suspect that I know just where to look.”