Nanite Revenge

Image borrowed from the internet

297, AJJAJON, ODER, 2—SOLNET BROADCAST—MARS LOCAL NEWS CHANNEL 3912

Mike Smith was temporarily suspended from the University of Neopolis pending the investigation of missing nanites from the school’s science lab. What turned out to be a harmless prank could have been much, much worse. Now here’s Jackson with the story:

The first of his roommates to awaken was Sam. It started with a light scratching under his covers, and then more determined movements until he finally sat up in bed. “What is that”, his voice echoed through the room. He reached for the lamp, but Jose had already beaten him to it.

The light came on.

“Ahhhhhh!”, both men screamed. A solid grey mass that had covered Sam’s body from the waist down was working its way up his body. He jumped to his feet, kicking and screaming and brushing his legs, but nothing could slow their march up the body.

By this time everyone in the room was awake. Sam and Jose were dancing about the room, arms flailing and grasping for an unseen foe, and Erok was writhing under his sheets. Mike’s heart pounded within his chest—partly out of fear for his friends, and partly out of the excitement of seeing them get what they deserved. He didn’t want to seem unaffected by this mysterious invader, so he let out a few screams of his own, and flailed his arms and legs beneath his blankets.

A few moments later all was silent. Sam sat in the far corner of the room, his shorts twisted and his hair a mess. Erok lay on the floor beside his bed still scratching at his legs; Jose stood in the center of the room staring at the large wet spot that had formed on the front of his pajama pants. For the longest time, nobody said anything and eventually all the guys made it back to their beds.

“University officials say they won’t expel Mike, but they don’t want the incident to go undisciplined, and he will receive a time off.

The weather is up next. Low solar activity is expected for the Sol System this next kilocycle, and Sun spots are the lowest in gigacycles—stay tuned for your local forecast.”

Unlikely Fisherman

Image borrowed from the Internet

Omof’s face winced as he glanced through the list of ingredients: “Eye of blackorb, bakkar berry, petal of dream flower, Tayark bark! Tayark bark! I knew I’d forgot somethin’”, he snarled as he turned and put the list next to the large handcrafted wooden bowl on the workbench behind him.

His lab was small and compact; with cupboards filled with little clay pots and glass bottles. Each one was meticulously labeled with its contents, and date obtained. Some contained powders. Some contained leaves. A few contained dried dead bugs. All the containers were sorted by color, content, and age, and declared his obsessive compulsiveness.

“Omof! Time to eat!” came a little quaint voice from the doorway at the end of the room. His wife poked her head around the corner of the doorframe, “You’ve been working all afternoon. Now put that stuff down, and come get a bite.” He was a very intelligent man. Kind of short, plump, with a round pudgy nose. “I’m comin’. Just give me three minutes to clean up.” They both knew that his three minutes would be more like thirty, but she said nothing as she made her way back to the kitchen.

As he turned to grab the wooden bowl from the workbench behind him his arm bumped a rack of dry chemicals, and a dark purple powder poured into his half prepared mixture. “Ah, Brall”, he mumbled under his breath, “Just what I needed”. He quickly grabbed the jar of powder and set it upright on the table. “Well, that wasted about—whoa, would you look at that,” he said to himself as the contents of the bowl began to foam violently. His amazement quickly turned to anger as he realized how unorganized this made his workshop look.

He cleaned up the spilt powder, put it nicely back on the rack, and quickly headed outside with the wooden bowl, as if to hide his failure from his wife.

The Dryson family’s modest little home was just a stone’s throw from the Mirros Sea and about three miles from Corgrande. Close enough to come under the protective umbrella of the town’s volunteer militia, but far enough away to have some privacy. He made his way quickly to the water’s edge, because there was only about a half-hour of sunlight left, and he didn’t want to be outside after dark. Most folks in Ferimond locked their homes up pretty tight when the sun went down.

Omof dumped his purple mixture into the sea, and bent down to rinse the residue from the bowl. He was careful not to touch the clingmoss just under the surface of the water. There were clingmoss beds peppered all around this part of the sea, and swimmers, fishers, and anyone else who wondered into the beach waters had to be extremely careful not to become entangled in their tendrils. As he stood and began to turn back toward his home, he noticed little silver patches bobbing on the surface of the water. “Flitterfish”, he said as he reached and picked up one of the fish that had floated to the surface.

He had discovered a way to catch the prized Flitterfish. They were a very tasty fish, but almost near impossible to catch because they lived only among the clingmoss.

Omof quickly made his way back to the shop. He walked back over to the workbench and picked up the jar of purple powder and read its label …

Well if I told you what the purple powder was then it wouldn’t be a family secret would it?

Skinmoss

Here’s a short I wrote several years back about a plant based illness that was transferred to humans when they made first-contact with an alien race. Enjoy!

EARTH YEAR 2333, ALPHA CENTAURI A SYSTEM, PLANET FIORA, SOUTHERN CONTINENT

Jerome Sax stood at the door to a new world. This was it! His team had been chosen to make first contact with the only other known intelligent species in the universe, and a million thoughts flooded his mind. Would they be friendly? Aggressive? Would they be able to communicate? He finished loading his pack then turned and faced the others. “You guys ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Sam smiled as she spoke.

“Let’s do it,” Jeff said, his hand on the door switch.

They’d done their homework while in route to the planet. Fiora was just slightly larger than Earth making its gravity a little stronger. The atmosphere was similar, so no breathing device was needed. They’d spent the last week on immune boosters to prevent any foreign infections from starting. It was important to meet the aliens face to face; they didn’t want a space suit to hinder communication. The benefits of meeting them in their own environment far outweighed the risks of bio contamination…at least that’s what they’d been told.

Jerome turned in time to see the door slide to the left, and a blast of air whisked past his face. The wind was warm, and carried with it the sweet smells of this new world. All three stepped out into the clearing where their ship had landed. The world looked much like the jungles found on Earth. The trees and plants were definitely different, but they were green and leafy.

There were a few simple structures about a hundred meters directly in front of the ship, and several bipedal creatures had stepped out of the buildings to investigate the commotion. The next few minutes seemed like hours, but the team eventually stood face to face with the beings. They were a little larger than humans, and appeared to be a bit stronger too. The creature that stood in front made a few clicks and glottal sounds then offered a basket filled with a yellowish food, possibly a fruit of some type.

Jerome accepted the basket, and then offered a gift in return. Some of the creatures in the distance were able to change their skin color to blend in with their backgrounds; they were hard to see until they moved. The group that had come forward was brownish in color, very similar to human skin. It seemed they were imitating human colors to make the meeting more comfortable.

The leader, however, was different. His right arm from the elbow to the tips of his fingers were green, perhaps a mark of authority. Customs in any society were important, and now was as good of time as any to introduce a human gesture. Jerome reached out to grab the alien hand…nothing quite like a good firm handshake to seal a friendship. At first he seemed to hesitate, but eventually responded. His grip was firm. His hands felt strange though, soft, yet prickly. It wasn’t till later when he realize he’d been infected

DESCRIPTION

Skinmoss is a plant that grows within flesh. The plant starts as a needle like seed that breaks the surface of the persons skin. Once inside, the needle develops slowly, sending out a root system centimeters in all directions. After about a month, the plant pushes up through the skin in several places. The tops of the plants can be pulled off, but they grow back quickly, and will continue until the root system is removed. The tops are made of small green leaves about 2 millimeters in diameter, and tube-like shoots. These tubes send out seeds to others when the plant tops are brushed or bumped, so pulling them often infects other parts of the body. There are no practical purposes for the plant, and it’s usually just a minor irritant. There have been a few extreme cases where root systems have invaded vital organs and have caused death.

The plant uses photo synthesis like other plants, but retrieves its water supply from the body of its host. Darkness can slow the spread and growth of the infection, but will not remove it. Initial signs of infection are dry skin, and slight thirst. Other symptoms include a burning or itching beneath the skin that doesn’t go away with scratching.

Treatment is by pill, and usually takes 2-3 weeks. One method used to keep the plant from spreading is to tightly wrap the infected areas. If left untreated, skinmoss can infect the person’s entire body. As the plant spreads it absorbs more water from its host, and will cause dehydration, and ultimately death. Those infected are encouraged to double their water intake for the duration of treatment.