Writing Prompt: Someone is killed on the outer space-cruise you are on. Passengers are told to lock themselves in their cabins and await instructions. The captain speaks over the P.A. system. “The first contestant has fallen, 999 remain”. Then the doors click and swing open…
“The first contestant has fallen, 999 remain.”
Over a thousand doors clicked open, and in that moment the Passenger Craft, nicknamed the Yellow(ish) Submarine, entered into a low powered stuttering through the stars.
Outside the porthole windows the distant Voraxial Galaxy spun in a haze of deep orange and liquid green. There was no hope of rescue, the only means to radio out from the Yellow(ish) Submarine was by way of Transmittance from the Command Centre. The very same Command Centre that was now under marshal rule of the marauders who had overthrown the ship’s captain.
“The craft is ours, your captain is dead.” the voice echoed out through the ship’s network of communications modules. Screens that could receive messages, but would no longer transmit them. “We’ll take thirteen recruits into our ranks. Call it a lucky number. Application is by survival only. Either exactly thirteen stand at the Command Centre doors come midnight, or you all die. No more. No less.” a stagnant silence fell over the ship. A silence soon replaced by the screams of the next to fall.
Hands was a member of the Imperium Guard, his being on the Yellow(ish) Submarine was meant as a vacation. Well sh*t. This vacation just got a damned sight more interesting. An Imperium Guard might gander favour with his superiors should he safely return captaincy of a Passenger Craft (carrying presently in excess of nine hundred live civilians) to its rightful crew. They said they’ve already killed the captain. No doubt then that the rest of the crew are meant as hostages, at least until the marauders learn how to pilot this beast of a ship.
A large, hair covered shape raced past Hands’ door. Then it froze, doubled back, and stared through the door to see no one there.
Hands had hidden himself to the side.
The hair covered creature was Drongolian. You might just have been able to perceive its pink eyes and pale palms, but all else was a matted, greasy mess of hair. This particular Drongolian had managed to obtain a Shock-Stun, a small rod that could extend at the push of a button and would immobilise the target upon touch. Killing was an awful lot easier when the enemy couldn’t move.
“Hey, Big Foot.” Hands winked at the Drongolian as he dropped the AAG (anti-anti-gravity) paper weight over its head, knocking the creature out cold. A
AG paper weights were a common commodity in space, a fine way to keep your more important documents from just drifting off.
Taking up the Shock-Stun Hands discretely peered out from his room, and when he was sure the coast was clear he started to make his way to the Command Centre.
Jesscia was a Borogomb by birth, her body mostly comprised of a gelatin like structure which made sifting through vents and bars and key holes second nature. It was thanks to this that she had made her way into one of the few rooms that remained under lock. The Ship’s armoury.
Perhaps this sounds a more exciting place than in fact it actually is. A Passenger Craft is rarely loaded with masses of weaponary meant for killing. It is used instead to store: additional generators and nuclear motors (should the ship’s own fail), crate upon crate of rat poison (as foul a problem in space as on Earth) and as many sacks of grain and potatoes as was possible (as with any flawlessly designed craft there was never enough room to store… well, anything).
But despite the mundane look of the room Jessica did happen to come upon something of worth. The ship’s automated severs, or S.A.S for short.
“A shiny new body for the Battle Royale.” Jessica considered each of the lifeless cases with eager interest, “Don’t mind if I do!” simmering herself down she seeped inside the body of a silver plated server, about eight foot tall with several extra arms (a server can never have too many). Inside the metal body Jessica set about powering up her new-found friend…
“Well I never! Stop it! That tickles!” the server squirmed uneasily at the sensation of something so thick and wet travelling around its innards, “I must ask, what is the meaning of all this?”
“The meaning?” Jessica hadn’t exactly given much thought to the meaning, “Ermm, well, I suppose the meaning is that we’re gonna win this f*cking thing.”
“Win what? Oh my, I must say I don’t care for you language young lady.” the server’s legs began to move without so much as a whisper of command to do so from its own circuitry, “Let me go this instant!”
A rather angry looking Turmonid burst in through the armoury’s locked door, most likely misinformed about what would be waiting on the other side.
Turmonid are in essence what we might think of as a hippo on hind legs, only with udders and a great many more eyes. The Turmonid made to charge at Jessica and the body of the server she inhabited, but before it could a stream of bright white light shot out from one of the server’s arms.
“What in all the Universe was that?” the server asked perplexed.
It was, in fact, an amalgamation of Jessica’s own bodily functions with the servers. You see Borogomb are able to compound themselves within machines and make subtle adjustments to said machine’s programming.
“Call it an upgrade, Dickens.” Jessica said with a visible wink in her voice.
“Dickens?” the server sighed, “My names is Max-LD-U5 if you must know. Not Dickens. And I dare say your being inside me can only mean trouble. So, would you kindly remove yourself.” Max-LD-U5 gave a shudder, “Now!”
“Calm down, Dickens, there’s no need get your circuits in a twist.” Jessica hoisted back control over Max-LD-U5’s body, and made her way out into the fighting pits.
Elsewhere on the ship a Space Monkey had been sent, by way of fax, to see if it couldn’t retrieve some nuts for a young Phasmol named Pellet. This particular Phasmol had managed to trap itself inside the ship’s laundry room… and not just in the room, but in one of the industrial dryers.
“Fraser, you’ll be back soon, won’t you?”
The Monkey screamed incoherently at the skinny, little Phasmol, and ran away.
Phasmol were likened to baby chickens, red rubbery sacks with neither feathers nor hair. They had oddly bright coloured beaks and tiny black eyes, and most of the time rolled about on their backs on account of the fact their legs were inexplicably too small to carry their bodies.
Hence the Monkeys.
Granted, fax was by far one of the most outdated methods of send and receive. First the Monkey would have to be uploaded into the Phasmol’s small wrist-watch sized machine, then the numbers would turn over for minutes or hours (the timing was never consistent) until finally the print could begin. Piece by piece the Monkey would be born into life, and then finally it could be sent out into the world to do its master’s bidding.
But why a Monkey? It was the opposable thumbs, of course.
And did these servants always heed their master’s requests? No, not at all.
Pellet would never see his Space Monkey again. Fraser had been crawling through the ceiling ducts when he noticed what looked like a walking banana (but was in fact just a Shploik – a thin, yellowed creature that arguably did look somewhat like a walking banana). Fraser dropped on the Shploik in a mad haze, and by sheer luck (or foul depending on your opinion of Space Monkeys and Shploik) he prevailed over the banana shaped creature, smashing its head in against a heated pipe, sending steam hissing out in a mist.
It was safe to say that Fraser was far from impressed when it took a bite of the Shploik… he spent the rest of the trip sulking in a corner.
This may not have been as big of an issue for Pellet had the Phasmol’s technology enabled them to print multiple Monkey’s at any one time. But for some unknown (and rather irritating) reason they could only ever have one printed servant in service at any given moment.
To be continued?
Copyright © K R Perry 2019