Interplanetary Relations

Today’s creative writing prompt is inspired by the Outer Space Treaty, which went into effect on this date in 1967—exactly 50 years ago. The treaty provides a framework for international space law (yes, that’s a thing) and peaceful space exploration, and was signed by the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States earlier that year. It includes the following rules, according to the United Nations:

[T]he exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind; outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States; outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means; States [i.e., countries] shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner; the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes; astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind; States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities; States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and … avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

With that in mind, here’s your writing prompt:

It’s the year 2967, and you are the delegate from the United Nations to the Intergalactic Committee for Planetary Relations. Your mission is to persuade the delegates from the other developed and armed planets on the Committee to adopt a variation on Earth’s Outer Space Treaty in the interest of better intergalactic relations—but the vote needs to be unanimous. Everyone seems to be on board … except for the delegate from the planet Kryzlak, which is on tense terms with Earth following a dispute over mining colonies on one of Kryzlak’s moons. What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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156 thoughts on “Interplanetary Relations

  1. agnesjack

    Yashimah sat across from Mykla Chharba at a corner table in the Kepler Room on the top deck of the starship where the United Nations to the Intergalactic Committee for Planetary Relations resided. Yashimah had wanted to meet with the delegate from Kryzlak in person, an unusual occurrence in an era where fully functional holograms were beamed to the UNICPR chamber for meetings, but she wanted this to feel personal. She wanted to be able to shake hands, an ancient ritual that was quite rare in 2967.

    “You have a point, Mykla, you really do,” she said, carefully choosing her words. “In the past, the United Earth Federation has, indeed, broken promises and treaties. They’ve used deadly force when other options were available — decimating entire planets. The leadership for centuries chose brutality over diplomacy and ruled through fear and intimidation. This is undisputed.”

    Mykla smiled and took a sip of her blue wine, which Yashimah had gone to great expense to import from the famous vineyards of Gliese.

    “Undisputed,” Mykla said, “and still ongoing.”

    “No, no. There has been new leadership for more than seventy-five Earth years. The Court for Humanity convicted and exiled the Peace through Power Party members. Most are dead now.”

    “And yet, it was only twenty E-years ago that the UEF leadership lied about how they planned to extract the rhodium from our Thryzha moon. The ecosystem has yet to recover.”

    “They paid a hefty penalty for that.”

    “Ah, yes, a penalty of 1.2 billion after making trillions in profit. The price of doing business, eh? And it only took the old rulers 150 E-years to break the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 for the first but not the last time, when they hid nuclear weapons on their moon.”

    Yashimah took the crystal carafe and topped off Mykla’s glass. She knew Mykla was right. A diverse, intergalactic group, who believed in the concept of the greater good, now ruled the UEF but rogue elements still existed in the shadows. The PPP had been disgraced and marginalized, but not completely wiped out. They hid behind masks of benevolence and respectability. Evil could be contained but never eradicated.

    “I cannot argue many of your points, Mykla, but I can hope that this new treaty will give us the tools to ensure a safer, stronger universal cooperation. That is the intent. Isn’t it better to have a treaty to enforce than no treaty at all?”

    Mykla drained her wine glass and sighed.

    “President Chakhu is old, even by today’s standards, Yashimah. He has seen much destruction in the universe, but he has also seen much progress. He is hopeful for the future because his long life has taught him patience. I am young and impatient, which is why I argue against this treaty.”

    “I understand.”

    “However, I am instructed to find a way to say ‘yes’. So… these are my conditions and they are not negotiable.”

    “I am listening.”

    “The penalty for breaking the treaty cannot be a monetary slap on the wrist, nor can it be the cruel sanctions that hurt the innocent rather than the guilty. When the Court of Humanity rules that a planet has broken this treaty, the leaders of that planet must be permanently exiled, whether they were personally involved or not. Any planet that has a problem with these conditions is not signing in good faith. That is all.”

    “Well, I will do my best to convince the other delegates.” Yashimah said and then stood with her hand outstretched.

    “What is this?” Mykla said.

    “Oh, it’s an ancient custom that I wanted to try. You take my hand for a moment. It honors the commitment.”

    “Ah, how strange,” Mykla said as she took Yashimah’s hand. “I hope this custom has magic powers.”

    “So do I,” Yashimah said and left to take the message to the Committee.

    1. gamingtheblues

      This story is a nice breath of fresh air this week, with many of the other prompts going for tongue in cheek, outright humor or pure insanity. This more serious take on the prompt was well written, with a real soul too it. The back and forth feels genuine and I really enjoyed reading it.

      Nice Job.

    2. Beebles

      What he said, Agnes. For me, the beauty was in the deep rich character of Yashimah. Without actually giving any back story you portrayed a believable and rounded person whose morals and beliefs have clearly been forged by experiences way beyond this story. Nice job indeed.

  2. Beebles

    Try again …
    ——————–

    How was he expected to know it was a PPA and not a cigar lighter? It was the manufacturers of these Personal Protective Armaments who were to blame, making them appear like household objects, lighters, lipsticks. Accidents were bound to happen.

    ‘Mess this one up, Dalwhinnie and I’ll castrate you with my beak,’ the Captain had glared at him, one tentacle wrapped firmly round the Lieutenant’s neck.

    Dalwhinnie shuddered at the memory of that encounter and looked down at the unconscious body, the blackened face. A taser blast point blank will do that. He bent to lift Ambassador Taiken’s body onto the bunk.

    The cabin door intercom buzzed. ‘Ambassador Taiken? It is Grand Secretary Mit. I have arrived to escort you to the planet surface. The other planetary delegates are very keen to meet you. Ambassador?’

    ‘A moment,’ grunted Dalwhinnie as he rolled the ambassador’s body onto the bunk. The trouble with these C class 1280 Freighter cabins was the bunks were so narrow – to discourage fraternisation amongst the crew – like that worked! Slipping a limp, disobedient, ambassadorial hand beneath the blanket, Dalwhinnie snapped to attention as the door opened.

    Flickering in the doorway was a ten foot green bio-containment field, the Secretary’s insect-like body vaguely discernible inside. Behind him stood two sour faced Randhesians, galactic hired muscle Dalwhinnie noted with an inner sneer. His Grandfather had put holes in hundreds of them when he was in Fleet. Dalwhinnie rested a sweaty hand on his Grandpops old blaster at his hip.

    ‘Ambassdor Taiken?’

    The Captains reedy voice squawked in Dalwhinnie’s memory once more, ‘If you don’t get the Ambassador to that conference I’ll show you how my forebears used to enjoy your ancestor’s entrails for dessert!’

    ‘Er … yes,’ Dalwhinnie stuttered, ‘I am Ambassador Taiken.’

    ‘We must make haste, Your Excellency; you are due to speak in only twenty minutes.’

    ‘Minutes?’

    ‘Yes, minutes.’

    ‘You mean minutes.’

    ‘Of course, minutes. Forgive my pronunciation. But please, we must hurry.’

    The steel-capped boots of the Rhandesian guards clanged like brig doors on the lattice metal gangway that led down to Shuttle Bay 1. Dalwhinnie tried to shield his face from inquisitive crewmates while at the same time exude the importance and dignity of Earth’s foremost Crisis Management ambassador.

    ‘We have almost won the day,’ the Secretary explained as he glided. ‘Only the Kryzlations need to be persuaded and the Treaty will be ratified. Remember it needs to be unanimous.’

    Kryzlations. Scourge of the Perseids, Dalwhinnie mused as the Secretary chuntered on. In Grandpop’s day the Earth fleet would simply zip out of warp round Kryzlak, give them a few broadsides of laser canon and then get them to mine their own moons and ship it back to Blighty – and pay for the privilege. Those were the days. Now it was all endless negotiations and disgusting hors d’oeuvres.

    ‘Do as I suggest and the Kryzlations will have to come into line,’ the Secretary was saying as Dalwhinnie resurfaced.

    ‘Hmm? Do what?’

    ‘As I suggest…’ Mit’s suit fields were emitting an impatient buzz.

    ‘Oh, yes,’ Dalwhinnie nodded with a perfect façade of comprehension as the shuttle doors closed behind him. ‘Do exactly as you suggest… of course … can’t lose.’

    ———————–
    ‘Unanimous, you say?’

    ‘Uh, huh.’

    ‘Even you?’

    ‘Uh huh.’

    ‘Well, Mr Dalwhinnie, that is one heck of an achievement.’ The Captain of the unregistered Balerian 780 cargo vessel rubbed the back of her neck in the manner of one trying to believe a lower atmosphere docking tower of a story. ‘Vela will show you to your cabin. It’s a three year round trip to Cromion II, provided we don’t meet any Fleet.’

    ‘That’s fine,’ Dalwhinnie said rising, ‘I have a lot of thinking to do.’

    The Captain watched the shaken refugee follow her first officer into the bowels of the ship. She’d met some prime inhabitants of the planet Doolally in her time, but this guy appeared to be running for president. How could anyone vote against their own proposal?

    ‘The thing is,’ Dalwhinnie had whined, ‘I found the Kryzlations very persuasive.’

    The Captain hoped she wasn’t going to regret having this particular fugitive on board.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Beebles, this is so good, you just can not leave us here. The descriptions were fabulous and it is a great story line you are traveling on. Please?

    2. gamingtheblues

      That was beautifully written and…I had to re-read the last part three times to make sure that I was not misunderstanding the fact that the idiot screwed up so badly!! Not because of the writing but I just couldn’t believe it! You really had me going there thinking he was going to save the day.

  3. Kerry Charlton

    INNERPLANTARY RELATIONS
    BACK STORY

    IGLOSIA

    It’s the year 2967, and you are the delegate from the United Nations to the Intergalactic Commission For Planetary Relations. Your mission is to persuade the delegates from other developed and armed planets on the committee to adopt a variation on Earth’s outer space treaty in the interest of better intergalactic relations – but the vote needs to be unanimous. Everyone seems to be on board except for the delegate from the planet Kryzlak, which is on tense terms with Earth, following a dispute over mining colonies on one of Kryzlak’s moons What happens next?

    Rick Thrustpleasure could barely walk after leaving Iglosia’s room at the No Tel Galactic Hotel located at the convention. It wasn’t that he minded putting it where he did, but asking her where it was in the first place was downright humiliating to his ego. He never in a sane moment believed any galactic being would have been designed to work with anything that even resembled Iglosia.

    The key to success lay in her lap, so to speak. He reminded himself to ask where that part was when he saw her that evening , it might make things somewhat easier to hit the mark right away instead of probing in all the wrong places. She seemed to kind of enjoy it when she said,

    “Nope you missed it again Rick, try a little harder this time.”

    Back in his room, he took a hot shower to ease the hurt some, then he reached into his bucked of Ben Gay and lathered from top to bottom. As the pain eased his mind raced,

    ‘Games, yes games it what will please her, somehow I have to convince her to vote yes, . We’ll start with leap frog, I know I can out jump her, well maybe not, she has web feet and with a tail the size of hers, I’ll bet she could reach the ceiling. I know, we could French kiss some, most women seem to like that although my Mother told me I could get a girl pregnant if I did that. I know, I raise her arm and nuzzle her arm pit, but what about all that hair that’s growing there? Geez‘.

    She had asked him to meet her at the Inner Olympic horse barn. When he asked why, she just smiled and lowered her center eye, which really only meant one thing to him. Yes, she had three eyes, totally out of sync. The center eye was the only one she could blink, the others? Well, they stared away.

    When he arrived to take her o dinner, she wore an off the shoulder dress which left some parts exposed. Since he didn’t recognize any of them he figured it would clear the Writer’s Digest filter.

    “Barn first before dinner?”, she asked.

    “Of course ‘Igy’, reservations are for nine.”

    The hover crossover made it in five minutes, a horse championship ring included. But what appeared next, fizzed his brain. A horse with two heads, one each firmly planted on each end.

    “Some kind of joke Igy?”

    “Nope. special breed, take the back saddle?”

    “I’ve never ridden a horse.”

    “Come on, I was born in a saddle. Use the small ladder and climb aboard.”

    He hesitated, ’I’ll do anything to get the vote, kill if I need to but a two headed horse?’ He climbed gingerly aboard, both heads turned and shook a yes. They rode a couple of laps around the track. He seemed to have relaxed.

    “Rick lay down on your end stomach first.”

    “I don’t think so.”

    “Remember the vote”

    He did so gingerly, she pulled his pants down slightly and jabbed a small needle in his tail bone. The pain was gruesome but he didn‘t show it.,

    “What was that for?”

    “A tail seed.”

    “A what?”

    “I planted a seed that will be your own tail. I will vote yes now.”

    “Oh Lord,” he said, “what a tall tail this is!”

    .
    .
    . .

    1. gamingtheblues

      Oh Kerry, your wit and charm are so advanced that I truly do feel bad for the newer generations. What a treasure you are, something that the kids of the day struggle to even emulate.

      I am over the moon (pun not intended) about the thumbing of your…nose? Does Iglosia have a nose?? at the filter on this forum, like we are little children. The innuendo is so strong I blushed and then had to wash my own mouth out with soap.

      Brilliant, funny, buzz word buzz word, ect..

      A pleasure as always!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Wow, just wow, I thought I might can get thrown off the web site writing this, then didn’t worry because I knew the filter would catch it
        But no, I need to run for the hills maybe

  4. pven

    Adon Tauchert paced within the narrow confines of her cabin, dictating to her AID pad.
    “As I view the diverse sentience in this room… No, that won’t work.” She shoved her finger on the pad and wiped away the words that had formed on the screen.

    “As I… No, let’s scratch that. Just begin with…
    “‘There is one thing we all have in common. That our ancestors looked up at the stars and marveled at them, then endeavored to explain them, and then sought to plumb their depths.’”

    “I would be cautious of the use of the word ‘ancestors,’” the AID interjected.

    “‘Ancestors’?” Adon hovered her finger over the screen. “Why?”

    “The Marah Oregani don’t deal in life cycles, but in propagation.”

    “They still die.”

    “Indeed. But this is not a discussion you wish to initiate during your speech. They are powerful allies. You will not want to alienate them.”

    “OK, then.” Adon muttered to herself. “Predecessor? Gawds, that sounds so banal. Primogenitor? Let me come back to that. Next sentence.
    “‘As our forbears discovered…’ No, no. That’ll piss off the Mizari…
    “‘As we discovered that we are not alone, we found a great juxtaposition in the space between our civilizations and the spaces which we inhabit.’”

    “Is it your intent to bring attention to our current conflict with the Kryzlaki?”

    “How does that…?” Adon seethed, but let the question die on her tongue. While Adon was no neophyte in Terran diplomacy, navigating galactic protocols was a dance that few of her peers had mastered. Her AID was programmed with the strictest of galactic diplomatic protocols for a reason.

    If the AID sensed Adon’s frustration through her finger as it scrubbed the screen, it said nothing. The perfect diplomat.

    “Why don’t you write this speech?” Adon knew the answer to this question, of course. The other diplomats would be able to detect the cadence and perfection of an AID-composed speech, and consider it a great insult that the new Terran delegate had not invested the time and consideration to craft her own. Minute diplomatic gaffs were, in this case, actually preferable to perfection.

    “You write it, and I’ll tweak it,” she continued. “That should mess it up enough.”

    Her AID remained silent.

    “Yeah, OK. ‘In this vast galactic expanse,” Adon began again. “‘All our civilizations have arrived at this single crossroads. Let us make this an opportunity to work together to reaffirm faith in the fundamental rights of sentient beings, in the dignity and worth of all lifeforms. Let us set a framework based in the equal rights of planetary systems large and small, establishing conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of interstellar law can be maintained…”

    “This sounds familiar,” interjected the AID.

    “We stand here to promote progress and better standards of living on all worlds,” Adon continued. “For these ends, let us practice moderation and live together in peace with one another, and to unite our strength to maintain galactic peace and security…”

    “Do you really want your first speech to be rooted in plagiarism?”

    “Hush. No one will know.” Adon paused to read the words on her screen. “And I changed a few words.” She grimaced. She scrubbed the screen.

    “OK,” she sighed. “What word can I use, if not ‘ancestor’?”

    1. gamingtheblues

      Hello Pven. This is a charming story that you have set before us. There is real personality in what is a very simple premise. The difficulties in creating a speech that reaches to so many different peo….er… alie..er… xenomorphic organisms ;p is daunting to say the least.

      I will not lie and say that I know the speech you pull from at the end (if you do??) but from content…maybe MLK? I suppose I could google it but what fun is that!

      Nice job, and very enjoyable

    2. JRSimmang

      I think it’s the preamble to the UN’s Universal Human Rights Declaration.
      I also think this to be a fine piece of fiction. Adon is very well fleshed out, and this seems like a snippet from a space dramedy TV series. Her AI is her perfect companion (and hilarious to boot), and that would make a highly entertaining relationship.
      There are a few small tweaks I’d suggest, pluralizing “predecessor” and “primogenitor” and swapping “gaff” for gaffe. One’s a social faux pas, the other is a large fishing hook.

    3. pven

      Thank you all for the kind words. Basically, this is what happens when I have absolutely no idea how to respond to the prompt and decide: “OK, I’ll just plagiarize the Charter of the United Federation of Plantets.”
      Which apparently was a rewording of the United Nations Charter, so good on JR for picking up on that.

  5. brookefischbeck

    I walked into the room. My advisor, Colin, was pacing. He looked angry.
    “Nice of you to show up.” He said, his words laced with calculation. I thought he should’ve been picked for Ambassador. I think he, and a lot of others thought that, too.
    “Umm.” I really had a way with words.
    “Where’s your speech?”
    “…funny story…”
    Colin’s face turned white. “Earth is screwed.” He walked back. I followed him, ignoring looks from the planet’s Ambassadors.
    “Why?”
    “If your speech doesn’t go well, and then our mines on Kryzlak will continue to guarded with weapons.”
    I froze. If those colonies get denounced by the Kryzlaks, then half of Earth’s income will drop.
    A chime rang. The meeting started.
    I racked my brain for what I could say up there.
    “First on the agenda is the peace treaty, proposed by Earth.”
    Colin nudged me. I walked, trying to seem like an adult, until I tripped on my robe and fell. Colin smacked his forehead.
    Laughter echoed around the room.
    I took a breath and walked into the center of the room. Faces stared back at me, the scariest one the face of Zarti, the Kryzlak Ambassador.
    He stared, watching me with a smile on his face. I knew what he thought. It was what everyone thought. This child doesn’t know what she’s doing here.
    I grew determined to prove them wrong.
    “I’m the Earthen Ambassador. There once was a peace treaty. It stated that the exploration of space was for all. That space was peaceful, where no weapons can guard, per say, mining moons. My idea is to have a treaty, so that peace can reign throughout the Galaxy, just like my ancestors intended, instead of living in fear of attacks..” I walked back to the desk and sat down, trying to shrink into myself.
    I slumped in my chair as the voice over the loudspeaker asked for a vote.
    Every single hand rose.
    Except one.
    Zarti. I clenched my fists. Before Colin could say no, I walked up to Zarti.
    I smiled like the little girl he thought I was.
    “Excuse me, but it you didn’t vote. Why?” All heads turned to me.
    Zarti smiled, sickeningly sweet. “Your plan is to take over our moons without our nuclear weapons enabled.”
    “Are you hiding weapons from the UU?. Weapons that you could be planning to use against us?” I knew they weren’t, but we needed those mines.
    Several gasps ensued. I knew I had won when Zarti spluttered.
    His hand rose. I could feel Colin’s gaze.
    “Guess it’s unanimous.”
    Then I turned to Zarti. I whispered, “I’m sorry.” I wasn’t. “But some’s lives have to be casualties.”
    “Not whole moons!” He whispered, aghast. “There’s millions of Kryzlaks there!”
    I walked away from him. Colin caught up to me.
    “What now, Ambassador?”
    “Ready the firing squads. Send them to the Kryzlakian moons. Oh, I forgot something.”
    “What?” His voice had hope, that maybe I would call it off.
    “Please.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      I think you accidentally posted two different versions of this story! No worries though! I did not see the twist coming and it is interesting to play with the dynamics of someone pretending to be weak, so as to ensure strength.

      Ultimately a fun story.

    2. pven

      This is good science fantasy – one of those pulp escapism tales that work well on a beach or airport lounge.
      However, I do have a concern that niggled at me throughout — motivation. You gave your characters a happenstance motivation of “I guess she’ll do,” and “I guess I’ll do it,” but it didn’t solidify with me. These are high stakes. Even General Zarti appeared to cave too easily, although I readily applied the motivation that the MC had guessed correctly at his weapons stash.
      It’s possible to have a 14-year old serve in an ambassadorial position in science fiction. I’m thinking of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, more specifically Zoe’s Tale. In that story Scalzi, of course, was not dealing with a 500 word constraint. So there’s that.

  6. brookefischbeck

    A ringing alarm wakes me from my cryopod sleep. I groan and type the unlocking password into the code. I step out of the pod and see my Comm sitting on its solar stand. A message pops up.
    Colin: UU MEETING IN TWENTY. DON’T FORGET AGAIN, JAIYA. WE’RE COUNTING ON YOU.
    As soon as my sleepy brain processes the message, I frantically pull on my Ambassador suit. I completely forgot about the United Universe meeting. Not that I’m not qualified. I am, ‘cept I’m 14 years old. Yep, the Earthen leaders decided the best Ambassador for them was a 14 year old girl who had no experience whatsoever. They just saw me and thought, “hey, she looks nice.”
    My only experience was in acting, and I guess politics is all about acting. I ran outside to my ‘ship garage and climb in. I just got my spaceship license last week, and boy had I been loving it. I punched in the activating sequence and took off towards the sky.

    I took a deep breath and walked into the large double doors of the International Space Station, luckily, located in Earth’s galaxy, Milky Way. I got antsy on more than 9 hour spaceship flights by myself. My advisor, Colin was pacing around Earth’s section of the debate room. His thinning gray hair was plastered on his forehead with gel, and his wrinkled skin dropped in anxiety. His eyes clouded with anger when he saw me, and I prepared to hear his wrath. He stalked over to me in anger.
    “Jaiya. Nice of you to show up.” He said, every word laced with a calculating ferocity. I always thought he should’ve been picked for Ambassador, instead of me. I think he thought that, too.
    “Yeah.” I gulped. I really had a way with words.
    “Where’s your speech? About the Kryzlaks?” He inspected me, searching for a nonexistent speech.
    “Ummm…funny story…” I started, laughing nervously.
    Colin’s face turned white with fear. “Earth is screwed, then.” Is all he said, walking back to the desk. I followed him, ignoring weird looks from the other solar systems Ambassadors.
    “Why?”
    “Because, Jaiya, if this meeting doesn’t go well, then we don’t get the peace treaty signed, and then our mining colonies on Kryzlak will be guarded with nuclear weapons.”
    I froze. If those colonies get denounced by the Kryzlaks, then almost half of Earth’s income will recede. I rubbed my temple. I really messed up on this one.
    A chime rang four times, signaling the start of the meeting.
    I sat down, racking my brain for what I could sat up there.
    “First on the agenda is the peace treaty, proposed by the United Nations of Earth.” A voice said.
    Colin nudged me, so I guess I had to get up, and not stay there until I died like I wanted to. I walked, trying to seem like a sophisticated adult, until I tripped on my too-long robe and fell to the floor. Colin smacked his forehead in disbelief. I chastised myself. Nice first impression, Jaiya.
    I plastered a fake smile on my face as titters echoed around the room.
    I took a deep breath and walked into the center of the circle shaped room. Several hundred faces stared back at me, the most prominent one the face of General Zarti, the Kryzlak Ambassador.
    He stared at me, three crimson eyes watching me with a hint of a smile on his face. I knew what he was thinking. It was what everyone was thinking. This girl is just a child. She doesn’t know what she’s doing here. His four pairs of arms were laced on top of his desk, a knowing look on everyone’s face.
    I grew determined to prove them wrong.
    “Hello, Universe. I’m the Earthen Ambassador, as you can probably tell. I’m here to tell you about a peace treaty that was signed a very long time ago, before I was born. It stated that the exploration of space was for everyone. That space was a free place, where no nuclear weapons or any weapons can guard, per say, mining moons. My idea is to have a treaty like that, so that peace can reign throughout the Galaxy, just like my ancestors intended, instead of living in fear of unprecedented attacks. Thank you.” I walked back to the desk and sat down, trying to shrink into myself and hoping I did okay.
    Colin’s face was the color of a white sheet.
    I slumped in my chair as the voice over the loudspeaker asked for a tally of votes.
    To my surprise, every single hand shot up.
    Except one.
    General Zarti. I closed my eyes in anger. Then, before Colin could tell me no, I walked up to him.
    I smiled sweetly, like the little girl he thought I was.
    “Excuse me, General Zarti, but it seems you didn’t vote. Why?” I asked. All heads turned to me.
    General Zarti smiled back as sickeningly sweet as I had. “Your plan is to take over our moons without our nuclear weapons enabled. I can’t allow that.”
    “It seems deeper than that. Are you hiding weapons from the UU, General?” I paced across the floor. “Weapons that you could be planning to use against us? A war, perhaps?” I knew they were planning nothing of the sort, but we needed those mines.
    Several gasps ensued. I knew I had won when General Zarti spluttered, but no words came out.
    His hand slowly rose into the air, defeated. I could feel Colin’s shocked gaze.
    I smirked at him and turned to face the audience. “Guess it’s a unanimous vote.”
    Then I turned, slowly, smiling, to the General. I leaned over and whispered into his ear. “I’m sorry for taking your moon.” I smirked again, pleased with myself. “But some people’s lives have to be casualties.”
    “Not whole moons!” He whispered, aghast. “There’s millions of Kryzlaks there! You’ll kill them!”
    I walked away from him, ignoring his final pleas following me. I walked out of the debate room, Colin chasing after me.
    “What now, Ambassador?”
    “Ready the firing squads. Send them to the Kryzlakian moons.” I skipped away. “Oh, I forgot one thing.”
    “What?” Colin’s voice had hope in it, that maybe I would call off the plan of killing the Kryzlaks.
    “Please.”

  7. Alanpiranha

    This is my first time writing since my high school creative writing class 5 years ago. I would love to get much better at writing and will appreciate all critique.

    “Surprisingly, I feel fine”, I thought to myself.

    And surprising indeed, travelling faster than an asteroid hurdling towards Earth wasn’t what usually made me sick; It was the haunting silence of space. I can’t help but listen to the echoing sound when I am surrounded by limitless nothing; and my stomach can’t take it. But today I feel fine…

    … “Esta. Zlak, the United Nations and I apologize for intruding on your boundaries”, I say in the sincerest tone of the Kryzlakian culture, “and we hope that our fault against you will not hinder a collective galaxy.”

    One of the 6 tentacles on Zlak’s face quivered. All 9 of the life-filled planets had to agree to the International Space Law for a unified galaxy, and Zlak was starting to feel the pressure from the Committee. He wanted peace as much as any lifeform, but could not forgive Earth for their betrayal.

    “Esta. Zlak, The United Nations and I understand your right for claiming territory. But just like you, Earth and the rest of the Committee are giving up our rights for a peaceful society. The Outer Space Treaty will benefit all planets, including Kryzlak.”

    Zlak knew it was senseless to let Earth’s treason disrupt the progress for all, but then again, it was Earth’s treason. “I cannot forgive an invasion from humankind, and would rather slice my own tentacle than dishonor Kryzlak by doing so.”

    With a whirlwind of fabric, he stalked away.

    1. gamingtheblues

      Welcome to the forums! And I know that it can be quite daunting to begin writing again and sharing your work.

      As you specifically ask for criticism, and the desire to improve, I will put on my editors cap for a minute and not play with kid gloves too much 😉

      You have the bones here for an at least interesting story. Your sentence structure is fine for the most part and your word usage. There is little of the awkwardness that can come with someone new to writing or rusty. (Any rust or issues on these will all be worked out with just more practice. No glaring mistakes or huge concerns that need to be beaten into the dirt)

      Your story itself needs more fleshing out though. There are information gaps in what is going on, and the stakes involved which do not allow me to invest because I am not 100% sure what is happening or why. I think you cut the story shorter than it needs to be in other words.

      Even in a word limit situation, if you have to go over to properly serve the story, do not be afraid to do so. The stories are already there inside your head, and just need you to let them out.

      And while you did not fall into the trap of being overly descriptive with adjectives or purple prose, I found whirlwind to not fit 100% with the image i think you were going for. Even whirl alone would work I think..for me the wind part brought about an image of cloth ripped up and flying in all directions 😉

      So, in short. I think you have a good start on your writing abilities. Sentence structure, word choice, ect… . You will do fine if you just let the story tell itself and all you have to do is act as a lion tamer and whip it into place when it needs it.

      Thanks for the sharing and please write again next week! Practice always!~

      1. JRSimmang

        I think Gaming hit on all the points I would be making.
        First, it’s wonderful you’re getting back into the game. Writing has become a part of me, a sentiment I believe a lot of us here can make.
        Second, it’s vitally important you begin the hard work of finding story. Overall, the tension between Zlak (or is it Esta. Zlak?) and the MC is unfulfilling. The moment they meet is anticlimactic. Work first on identifying motivation of the characters, then use the form of the story to build your story. Start with the MC’s problem, then attempt to resolve it. One of my old writing teachers told us that good writers are the experts in one-upsmanship. I didn’t give him too much sh!t about making up a word because it’s absolutely true. We have to not only write from one perspective, but two, three, and sometimes, in the case of Tolkein or Rowling (not drawing a comparision) tens of characters. Each of them has a stake in the game.

        Also, use their dialogue to move the story along. Perfunctory conversation in the written world is as bad as small talk in the world of sound.

        Third, be careful with the overuse of the semicolon. Be careful with the semicolon all together. The Purdue Owl will tell you to use the semicolon to connect two complete, related, subjected/predicated thoughts; otherwise, use a comma or start a new sentence (see what I did there?).

        I’ll finish by saying that your feet are more than wet. Now, take it to the next level. I’m eager to read what you’ll make next!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Welcome. In addition to the comments already posted, I’d suggest reading all the stories each week to see how others approach the prompt. If you have the time, go back to previous prompts, too. That’s what I did before I posted the first time several years ago.

  8. Jennifer Park

    “Let’s try the Resplendent.”

    My attendant nodded reverently, and closed his eyes. We earthlings took full advantage of the fact that we were the most technologically advanced species of the whole Galactic Union. Heck, most of the species needed us to give them a ride to the Assembly, so really they were at our total mercy. “Is this to your liking?”

    I looked in the mirror. My military uniform was replaced with a glimmering silver robe and a crown, and I was levitating about half a meter. I spread out my arms in a world-embracing pose. “Turn up the glimmer a little.”

    He did.

    “Perfect.”

    Nolem smirked. “You sure love playing goddess, don’t you… Your Excellency?”

    I smiled my most magnanimous smile. “You wanna f*** before I go?”

    “OK.”

    There were few species in the universe who could resist the goddess.

    =====================

    The meeting room was an empty space, glimmering in silver of course, about 100 meters wide. The Kryzliamei were six-legged s*xually-reproducing creatures standing about a meter tall, with two probosces used as hands. Mostly agricultural tribalists, currently governed by three empires and a handful of lesser kingdoms.

    “Ambassador, you have to understand the significance that the moon has in our traditions,” said the lowly creature who represented the three empires.

    I tilted my head condescendingly. “I am not here to discuss mining. I am here to grant you peace.” So what if half of their moon was gone now? We needed the silica; they wouldn’t for several hundred years.

    “Without the moon, there is no peace on our planet.”

    “But there will be peace in the universe.” I turned up the reverb a little.

    “Yes… but…” The Kryzliam blinked. “Ummm… you know, could you turn down all that glimmer?”

    “What glimmer?”

    “You know… that light that glows off your clothes…”

    “The… the light… is the splendor of…” I turned up the reverb a little more.

    “I know it’s artificial. Everyone knows that your species look like our pichaitei in your natural state. And that dreadful echo in your voice… if you could turn that ‘down’, if that is the correct expression…”

    I was completely nonplussed. How did this primitive beast even understand what was going on?

    I had to think fast.

    Oh, well. Protocol be dammed. The Council would probably fire me for this. I turned off the glow, the float, the reverb, and the robe. I stood before the Kyzliam in my underwear. I might as well have been standing there naked.

    To my surprise, the Kyzliam’s eyes widened. “You…”

    “Yes?”

    “You are… you are more beautiful and resplendent than I could have ever imagined!”

    I frowned. What, with my frizzy hair, unmade-up face, and bulging tummy?

    The Kyzliam gaped at me, and then suddenly collapsed onto the floor.

    “Oh, My Goddess… My Goddess… Yes… We pledge complete obedience to you. Everything as you wish…”

    I shrugged. Not what I expected, but exactly what we wanted.

    1. gamingtheblues

      Jeeze not only are we humans awful selfish jerks, but also vain and passion crazed ;p

      The humor aside, and for what it is worth, the humor was funny and well written here, I actually really enjoy the underlying thoughts (critiques??) on the role of illusion, glamour and well, manipulation in terms of power and success. It was a well thought out story. Though a tad cynical for me in the end where results were more important to her than the realization and redemption that she might have had through understanding that all the glamour was unnecessary.

      A surprisingly deep and thought provoking response. Nicely done.

  9. ShamelessHack

    “The High Court of Planet Ishkabibble has found you guilty as charged, Jess Zafarris…”
    “But, but, I…”
    “…And your sentence is to be hung by your plinkaroonie from a Pitzywitzy tree until dead.”
    “No, I…”
    “…Dead as a blorp-nail.”
    “But I don’t even know the charge!”
    “Read him the charge, Magistrate Gloppenbooner.”
    “Very well. Ahem, ahem. The accused Jess Zafarris is found guilty on all counts of creating the craziest creative writing prompt in the history of the Galaxy…”
    “Wait! But…I…”
    “…So nutso, in fact, that your outer space prompt has formed its own black hole in the lower back star cluster of the constellation Bozo the Clown.”
    “But…”
    “What’s even worse is that your prompt was so ‘out there’ it caused the whole unstable planet of RitersDijest to implode on itself, eradicating an entire race of would-be self-publishing hacks.”
    “Is there any appeal? Can I get a break here?”
    “There is only one thing you can do to save your pathetic little plinkaroonie, Jess Zafarris.”
    “What? I’ll do anything!”
    “Travel back in time and space to 2017 Earth and change this whack-o prompt to something half-way workable.”
    “I will! I will!…”

    ****

    This week’s Creative Writing Prompt by Jess Zafarris: You find a little stray puppy on the street in front of your house and adopt him. What happens next?

    ****

    “How’s that, Hack?”
    “Better, Jess.”
    “How much better?”
    “Light years better.”

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      My goodness, Hack, I cannot believe the filter didn’t stop this, this, whatever it is. I also cannot the new prompt you approved. Tsk, tsk, tsk. A puppy when everyone knows kittens make better, and cuter, topics. Hack, Hack, Hack.

    2. gamingtheblues

      I…wait…so.. should I just go with the old prompt.. or.. *hits head off wall* Is this the ultimate meta response….or is it just bored peevishness…I…AHHHHH!!!!!

      *dies*

    1. pven

      A minor annoyance that I’ve come to expect. You’re viewing on a mobile device, correct? There’s no “X” in the upper right corner?

      Hope you’re doing well.

      1. JRSimmang

        Thanks, pven. Likewise, I hope you’re days are splendid.
        I’m actually trying to get around the ad problem on my work PC. At home, no issue. Mobile, no issue. But at work, it’s a subliminal message to… maybe… get to work, or something, I guess.

  10. jhowe

    “If you recall,” the old man said. “In the fifties, the lunatics wouldn’t have gotten away with this.”

    Crann looked at the weathered face of his mentor. “You’re talking the 2950’s, right?”

    “Funny sh!t, Crann, really fun stuff.” The old man pulled a synthetic crystal from his robe and activated it. The miniscule messenger appeared, did a clumsy soft shoe shuffle and cleared his tiny throat, looking sheepish.

    “I hate it when they do that,” Crann said.

    “Shh, let him speak.”

    “Beware of activities on Kryzlak’s largest moon.” The messenger pirouetted and held up his hands. Neither man reacted. “Well, then, perhaps you should know about the increased energy readings, in the magnitude of the 22nd power.”

    Crann blinked. “But, that’s galaxy altering.”

    “And then some,” the old man said.

    “All models place your solar system at the epicenter, and by all means, don’t shoot the messenger.”

    “Don’t tempt me,” Crann said, looking at his mentor.

    “We have no choice, Crann. You have to activate Defender.”

    “How far away is Kryzlak?”

    “492 lightyears,” the messenger said. “But my sensors indicate they haven’t triggered the weapon yet.”

    “But even if they do, it will be generations before we are destroyed.”

    The old man shook his head. “It’s either them or us. You have your people to consider.”

    “But, if I activate Defender, it will take 492 years for it to reach Kryzlak.”

    “Actually,” the messenger said. “When you calculate time warp, it will be slightly longer.”

    “Okay, let’s round op to 500 years to simplify things. Who’s to say they aren’t waiting to see what we do?” Crann paced. “Has anyone spoken with them, tried to negotiate?”

    “Are you joking?” said the messenger. “It takes 500 years for a signal to reach them.”

    “Do we even know Kryzlak exists?”

    The old man put a withered hand on Crann’s shoulder. “It’s not a matter of existence, grasshopper. Trust your heart.”

    “Fine, give me the button.”

    The mentor pulled a small box from his robe. An oval disk quivered on a thin spring and hovered above the box. Crann placed his index finger on the disk. The messenger squealed, placing his tiny hand over his mouth. Crann applied pressure, only to cause the button to become detached and fall to the floor.

    “Have this fixed and we’ll meet again tomorrow.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      Hmm Jhowe, do I detect a fan of Bradbury here? There is a little of his interesting style of his cynical, satirical humor. I really enjoyed the premise that you build here and found the pacing perfect.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I could imagine the two destroying devices, whatever they are, meeting in 200 or so years, knocking out each other, but who would know. Now to get that blasted button fixed. Imaginative take.

  11. A. J. Kidding

    ” A call for you, sir.”

    Sigh. Two days into my vacation, and the planet of my ancestors had need of my help.

    “Show on optic nerve”
    The quantum nanites in my cerebral cortex initiated a connection between god knows what intergalactic satellite the UN was using right now and my eyes. A semi transparent 3d image appeared before me, and as I recognized the man, I had to make sure I was alone.

    “That will be all, cadet” I said to the young boy, and he left the room.

    “You know I don’t like being disturbed while I am on vacation, Tera-Presidentus. Why does the governor of humanity has suddenly decided to call me?”

    The man in the image, seemed a bit tense. He didn’t say anything for the first few moments. Was this a bad connection? No, I distinguished a drop of cold sweat running on the side of his left cheek… He sensed my unimpressed gaze and started talking.

    “Lazarus, as you know we’ve engaged in the signing of a new treaty between all sentient races. The Universum Summit members have all recognized and accepted our new economical model, except for…”

    “The Kryzlaks”
    I finished the sentence slightly agitated, cutting him short.

    “How did you know?”

    Seriously? The first time our miners struck Goldium-9 and Nano-Crystaline on one of their moons, the entire solar system went crazy for the news.

    “Listen, I don’t have time for this Martin.” I said in hopes that he will disconnect the call and try to clean up his own mess. “You have a fleet of delegates that can negotiate optimal terms for all parties. I am uninterested. Disconnect conn…”

    “Brother, please” He said, as he sat down on his chair and covered his face with his palm. He hasn’t called me his brother ever since I decided to pursue quantum engineering on Mars, leaving him to take care of our sick parents.

    “You’re not telling me something, Martin” Something was definitely off, and it was most likely the reason behind this unexpected call.
    “The Kryzlak delegate not only refuses to sign the treaty, but also stated that if we do not withdraw our entire operation from their moon, they will take military action. Seeing as we proposed the changes for the new treaty, it would be unwise for the United Human Society to answer their threat with another threat. This was four solar hours ago. I am currently located in the Sombrero Galaxy, celestial body designation “Nova Zemya”.

    “Fine. Space-time coordinates?”

    “RE-scus-276*- 01111001 01100101 01100001 01110010”

    “Expect me shortly. Disconnect connection” I stood up from my chair, and decided to get ready. “Materialize UNS uniform, blue.” After my nano robe molded itself in presentable wear, it was time for me to travel. I looked at my watch, and released the bio-quants. They covered me into their cocoon, and in the next moment I was in my brother’s room.

    “I hate it when you do that, but this is definitely more than handy. I had to travel here for 64 solar days and you’re just… when will you share this technology?”

    His comment definitely made me snicker in mild joy.
    “I have a vacation to get back to, lead me to the summit hall.”

    One obsolete light port travel, and we where in one of the most impressive rooms I have seen in my entire life, and I wasn’t easily impressed since I discovered the laws of quantum syncro-relativity. But I did found the architecture and and scale of the place astonishing. The entire summit turned their eyes towards us. On the podium, was the almost 3 meter tall Kryzlak ambassador; and as he looked at me, his facial expressions became docile and passive, but it certainly gave him drive to shout out to the entire summit:
    “Ah, we see that Earth has brought forth their most finest biological example.”

    My reputation preceded me. I walked towards the podium, and as I reached him I made sure that he listened.
    ” Take your place, Kryzlak ambassador.” I gawked, and that massive being obeyed. I decided to address everyone:
    “Esteemed members of this Summit. It has come to my understanding that the Kryzlaks no longer acknowledge the mining treaty that was signed fifteen S.S. years ago, and now decide to separate themselves not only from the common good for all sentient life forms but also from beneficial relations. My race’s representatives try to resolve any types of challenges without my help, because they know what I am capable of. Since the Kryzlak people have decided to give us an ultimatum, I will give them one.

    Nervous murmur filled the great hall.

    “Kryzlak ambassador” I looked him straight in the eyes. ” Since you decide to go with a threat, here is my counter offer. You will sign the treaty now or I will envelop your entire homeworld in accelerated time stasis.”

    “This is outrageous!” he yelled, in the most warrior-like manner he could muster.

    “I am joking, ofcourse” I said, and everyone got quiet again. “I do not wish to dismantle this great union, but if you do not comply with what is asked of you, we will withdraw from your moon, and I will port a syncro-relative device to make sure that nothing ever finds that celestial body again. You can continue to receive the resources agreed upon in the old treaty or we could re-negotiate it completely.”

    He signed, of course.

    It was about time for me to leave.

    “It was good seeing you Lazarus. Even just for a bit.”
    For a moment there I thought I saw my fifteen year old brother; the memory felt good.

    “It was nice seeing you too, Martin.” I was getting ready, again. As the nano-cocoon started wrapping around me, I decided to let my brother on a little secret:
    “Martin, syncro-relasis cannot be weaponized”

    ” You bluffed, you bast…” Didn’t hear his last words, but definitely saw his smile.

    *Flash*

    1. gamingtheblues

      Hello A.J. I found your entry to the prompt this week very intriguing. I am not against the idea of a superior protagonist as that particular trope is used quite often in anime and super hero media, which I am a fan of. Some of your scientific ideas are out there, but really interesting and I enjoyed the visuals and the concepts. The story itself was unique and a fun piece of sci-fi.

      On the other hand, your stories in the future will benefit from an increase in proof-reading and editing. There were numerous word usage and tense errors that at times took me from the narrative. I am trying to not be too hard, but if you want to progress as a writer, it is the next step.

      You already have a talent for crafting interesting and unique stories, now you should practice on polishing them 😉 I highly suggest reading your stories and sentences out loud. It feels a little silly at first but reading a story in your head is not good enough for finding all structural issues (even professional writers would benefit from this, most are too lazy and just let their editors do it ;p All errors I personally make in my stories here are 100% from not proof reading myself either.

      Please keep writing and as always I look forward to your next entry!

      1. A. J. Kidding

        Wonderful review, Blues.

        You make several valid points, and I have to come clean; I didn’t even proofread it. (time to weasel out ) I was in a hurry, and just wanted to use whatever momentary inspiration I had.

        Your comments are always appreciated, and I am looking forward to providing you with examples of my work 🙂

      1. A. J. Kidding

        Lazarus and Martin were born into a wealthy family, one chose to pursue politics, while the other was fascinated by sciences. Three decades later, Lazarus made a scientific discovery which allowed him to become completely independent of any universal authority, making him the most powerful being to have ever lived.

        Two initial conflicts were observed between the brothers. Once Martin was elected Tera-Presidentus (the.. ahem. President of Earth:) he tried to force his brother to submit all his work for the benefit of the human race, and had even gone far enough as to send… a space-ops team which had a mission to imprison his brother and claim his scientific findings. Naturally they failed; Lazarus found out that they were sent by his brother, which made their cold relationship even colder.

        Although not particularly caring about the fate of everyone else besides him, Lazarus understood the significance of maintaining Universal balance, and this is why from time to time he would use his scientific mind to help his fellow humans whether through stopping a natural disaster or banishing deadly diseases that would ravage his homeworld. For those incredible acts, his brother apologized to him and publicly proclaimed Lazarus as Tera-Protector; however, this did not make their relationship any better.

        And then the day of the Treaty came.

        Would after this the two brothers will rekindle their once forgotten bond? Only fiction-time would tell…

  12. Turkey Girl

    I sat behind the glass table, nervously rubbing my sweaty palms on its shiny surface until large smear marks appeared on it. The black emptiness of space stared back at me from the wrap-around window, lightened only by the little white dots that were stars, shining all around me. I’d just finished a conference with several other planetary delegates, where I’d successfully encouraged them to sign the Second Outer Space Treaty. That had been easy. The only problem planet that we had was Kryzlak, but the delegate from that planet hadn’t shown. He was going to meet with me now.

    A man walked into the room. I sighed. It was one of the men sent to protect me. He sat down next to me. “The delegate’s coming in a few minutes, Carol. Are you sure you don’t need anything before he arrives?”

    I smiled and shook my head. “No, I’ll be fine.” He stood up and headed for the door. “Actually, do you mind wiping down the table before he comes?”

    The man obliged, wiping the table quickly and leaving the room. Knowing if I leaned on the table I’d only make it dirty again, I sat back in my chair, trying to relax as I waited for the delegate. I didn’t even know his name, which put even more suspense into the situation.

    I heard the sound of footprints in the hall. The doors opened. My forehead moist with perspiration, I stood up at attention and watched as the delegate walked in. At least he was a human. If he’d been an alien, I don’t think I would’ve been able to go through with the conference. He stood in front of me sizing me up and down.

    Turning to his aids, I heard him mutter under his breath, “A woman. What does her government think they can do by sending her here? She holds no authority whatsoever.”

    My eyes growing slightly larger, I watched as the men laughed with each other before finally noticing my odd stare. Thankfully, they took my expression to be one of disgust instead of one of fear. I tried to be courteous.

    “My name is Delegate Arruda. Please sit down. I want to know what objections you have about signing the treaty. Hopefully, I can clear anything up.”

    The man dropped heavily into his seat. He still did not tell me his name. “The problem is simply this. I cannot give up my use of nuclear devices in space. It is the way my planet propels its spaceships. We also use them as weapons in our fights with other planets. I will never give up that objection, and certainly not at the advice of a woman.”

    I took the insult very personally. It offended me. It cut me to the very core. I stood up, glaring across the table at them. I wasn’t nervous any more. I was only angry. I pulled an antiproton pistol out of my pocket and pointed it menacingly at them.

    “You will sign the treaty now, gentlemen. Otherwise, I am afraid I will have to resort to more drastic measures.”

    The delegate laughed at me. His laugh built up even more anger in me. I fired two quick shots into his aids. They fell backwards, hitting the ground hard. “Sign the treaty now!”

    Hesitating and glancing at his two dead aids, the delegate leaned down and signed the paper. I smiled. “We will now confiscate all your nuclear devices. Then, we will come and take over your planet.”

    The man looked at me, confused. Ripping a mask from my face, I revealed the true blue color of my skin. The man was terrified. He screamed a little too loud. I shot my pistol at him, and his scream cut off. He fell on top of one of his aids.

    My assistant walked back into the room. “Shall I order the fleet to attack his planet?”

    I nodded. “Be sure to tell Earth that all the planets they wanted signed their precious space treaty. And dispose of the real Delegate Carol Arruda’s body on your way.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      I agree with Blaum, that was a nice twist! I did not see it coming at all, at first I was as confused as the delegate! I find it interesting that a leader of an invasion fleet would also have nerves before a “meeting.” Not that I disbelieve it, all sorts of people get stage fright. It was just an interesting detail. I enjoyed the simple style of writing, with just enough detail to flesh out the scene, but not so much that it distracted. Well done.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Good use of the prompt with an unexpected twist. I was a bit confused about the Earth “delegate” being blue and apparently killing the real Carol. I suspect a very interesting back story. BTW, aide is the correct usage here. What a difference an e makes.

  13. JRSimmang

    THE SLOW FALL OF THE BOULDER

    The sun never sets on Sisyphus because its orbit is highly erratic. That’s why the Kryzlakians call it Budat, the Sky Demon. So far from home, though, even a sky demon is good company. Truth be told, I’m not sure why I took the job. But, when planet calls you to duty, you don’t ignore the call.

    I stared out through the argon vapor at the horizon and caught a glimpse of Kryzlak. Right now, they’d be asleep, waiting for the sun to set for them.

    “Whatcha thinkin’?”

    I blinked to clear the memory of The Run from my mind, and focused on Darcy. “Just that I’m not sure how this is going to go.”

    “What? The delegation?”

    “Yeah.”

    He put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze. “Look, the Runs stopped two centuries ago, and we’ve made great strides in relations since then. Plus, I bet they wouldn’t have elected Ret-Abel if he wasn’t a great negotiator.”

    I patted his hand before checking the server for any updated messages. My hand hovered over the icon sent from Earth, the last transmission. The one I’d ever receive.

    I packed up my travel case, kissed Darcy on my way out, and aimed the Lockheed toward Kryzlak.

    The surface of the planet was covered in an intricate patchwork of farms and cities. Fields punctuated by light. For a nocturnal race, they were unconventionally gregarious and capriciously agricultural. They were also out of a storybook nightmare. Twilight followed me to the landing pad, and chased me into the Hall of Records. I felt the chill that came with it and tried to leave the screams and death of my brothers and sisters at the ornate doors. The Run may have been two centuries ago, but there are some Kryzlakian secrets that have been kept well-guarded.

    The diplomats were seated in concentric arcs, a few hovering, and some misting and phasing in and out. I had always been fascinated by the Borralaxians and their shimmering exohulls. Their language was a song, and they exuded calmness. I had hoped to get a seat near it, but I was forced next to the Squabish, the foul-smelling, foul-mannered offspring of Quantex 10.

    “Let the delegation begin,” announced Ret-Abel. “Today is the 4th of Delphin, Kryzlak, and I am Ret-Abel, delegate of Kryzlak. On the agenda today is the adoption of a new Intergalactic Treaty. If you please, sign in to your pads, and let’s begin our deliberations.”

    We were separated into our subcommittees for the first three hours of the evening, so I found my way to the Hyperspace and Zone Traffic committee, then to the Etymological and Scholastic Development Association. Ret-Abel’s gaze was following me. His eyes burned into the back of my neck, and it wasn’t long before the members of my delegation groups stopped talking to me all together.

    After a quick recess, we reconvened.

    “Please turn your attention to the Treaty on your screens,” began Ret-Abel. “One Treaty has already been ratified, please place your votes for maintaining the old Treaty.”

    The giant board recorded two votes, one from a Praxian and another from a Telestrian.

    “All in favor of amending the current Treaty, please mark now.”

    There were a dozen votes up. I was waiting for the UN’s Outer Space Treaty to appear.

    “All in favor of abandoning the current Treaty in favor of the new Intergalactic Assurances and Methodologies Treaty, please mark now.”

    “What?” I said out loud, and a few members turned to face me. I turned my focus back to the screen. In the lower left-hand corner was a link to the new treaty. A link that had not been present on my screen until now. I looked over to the Squabish and asked how long it had been there. He responded that we got it in our mailboxes three weeks ago.

    I stood up and shouted down to Ret-Abel. “When did you decide to abandon the UN OST?”

    All eyes, and other sensory organs, turned to me. My voice echoed back to me.

    “Why, Ret-Abel, have I not received this resolution?”

    He faced me from the podium, and flexed his shoulders. His pale face and shadowed eyes betrayed his anger, though his smile remained. “Human?”

    “Yes,” I mustered.

    “Hm,” he responded.

    “And?”

    “How long have humans been in space?”

    “Where are you going with this?”

    “About, 1000 years?”

    I paused. “Yes.”

    “How long has the human race been travelling to other planets?”

    “Since, I don’t know, the 2300s. Bonnie Glasick. Get to your point, Kryzlakian!”

    “We’ve, all you see here,” he motioned around him, then, speeding up his speech, “all of us have been travelling for millennia, generations of generations, and you… you! have come here expecting to upend thousands of years of negotiations? What is the UN if not a decrepit and desultory collection of antiquity? No, you do not have the legs upon which to stand. You have no compunction.”

    “Humans have been in the delegation since 2520!”

    “And that was a mistake!” He hit the podium with his open palm.

    I took a deep breath, clenched my jaw, and seethed, “You murdered thousands of humans in your sick games.”

    “200 years ago,” he added.

    “No, Ret-Abel, just last year. Last cargo shipment, last run of miners and mechanics, and you murdered them!”

    There was a chorus of whispers.

    “And you murdered an entire thriving ecosystem. I’d say turnabout is fair play.”

    “That doesn’t compare to the death of a species,” I screamed before I realized what I was saying. The Hall fell silent, and my face burned hot.

    Ret-Abel cleared his throat. “Well, that’s hardly our fault, isn’t it.” He inhaled sharply, allowing his two perfectly white fangs to flash in the incandescent light, before continuing. “You will not find a home here, Mr Reese. You will not find a home in the moons and planets you have destroyed. You cannot go back to Earth, and all I have to say is that we will not allow you, however few, to influence this congregation of sentient life. We will not permit you to destroy our planets as you did your own.”

    My knees buckled, and I slumped into my chair. How Ret-Abel found out about the UN’s dismantling, I’ll never know. How he found out about the Moon’s slow hellfire rain on the Earth below, I’ll never know. How he found out about humanity’s annihilation will stay with him.

    He was right. We weren’t able to keep ourselves from destruction.

    I filled my lungs with the air in the delegation hall and pressed the choice to abolish the consideration of ratification.

    There might be a human or two left in Andromeda, but it would take me three lifetimes to get there. I looked up to Sisyphus, and said a quick prayer that Darcy would understand if I didn’t come back.

    -JR Simmang

    1. A. J. Kidding

      Wow, this was amazing. You introduced the character perfectly, the setting, everything was incredible; the way your MC’s feelings were toppled after the realization of how minor the human race appears when compared to all other races…

      I want to watch this in a series, J.R. Amazing work.

    2. writer_sk

      JR- this read like the start of a much longer story, will it be?

      I thought the description of the scenery when the MC lands on Kryzlak added a lot to the setting and mood.

      I enjoyed all the names and references although some puzzled me—“exohulls” but I could imagine what it was.

      The line “misted and phased in and out” was great – imagined majestic aliens.

      A most Interesting tale!

    3. gamingtheblues

      This was a very engrossing, if potentially polarizing story 😉 I am an optimist and also a believer in human ingenuity and perseverance. It was painful for me to imagine a future where not only do we fail ourselves but also to live up to any sort of expectations for respect and prosperity to a wider universe. That is not a fault in the story though but more just a personal comment on how it made me feel. As I received some traces of Bradbury from one of the other prompts, I am curious if you are a fan of Vonnegut? I remember feeling similarly about his stories.

    4. pven

      As always, well done. I will say that it wasn’t clear to me that Mr. Reese is from Sisyphus until the end of the story (this kind of proves the point of the story, our hubris in believing that no matter where we journey, we’ll have Earth as our home), and I was a bit unclear as to where Darcy is located. These are minor things in comparison to the drama of the delegation.

  14. Pete

    The lobby of the Westminster Academy holds the aroma of popcorn and generously applied body spray. Its marble floors and stone walls capture all that transpire under the arched ceilings, so I can both hear and smell Charles Vanderbrooke long before he gives me a playful shove.

    “Nice jacket, Finn.”

    “Yeah, yeah.”

    I’ve been yanking at the sleeves of my thrift store blazer since I put it on. It still doesn’t fit and now I’m looking to shed it. Mom wouldn’t notice. While she forced me into this Youth Leadership Initiative—among other things—she never gets to see me take my weekly beatings because of her shifts. It’s probably for the best, though, when I think of her tearing up and talking fast, her accent thick and incomprehensible in the auditorium.

    Mrs. Mills, overlord of our debate improv club, hands out place cards. “Pay special attention to yours, Finn,” she says, before clicking off.

    Charles reads his. “It’s the year 2967. You are delegates from the United Nations to the Intergalactic Committee for Planetary Relations…?” He looks up, the freckles on his forehead bunching together. “What kind of crap is this?”

    I shrug, and pick up where he left off, “Everyone is on board. Except for the delegate from…Kryzlak?”

    Charles smiles at me. “I think Mrs. Mills has been playing too much Alien Blasters.”

    We group together backstage. My index card is not good. I’ve been assigned to represent Earth, who’s proposing an outer space treaty, or something. The only dissenter being Kryzlak—a smaller planet in the galaxy of Drazelion. Apparently, Earth has been drilling one of Kryzlak’s moons into dust.

    “Who’s the Kryzlack delegate,” I say, looking up from my card.

    “Me.”

    I spin around to find Sylvia Barrett. “Oh,” I say, giving my sleeve a tug. Sylvia’s blue eyes crinkle with her smile, until Mrs. Mann taps her on the head and reminds her to remove her beanie. She rips off her beanie and the scent of her hair sends me running through clean sheets and honeysuckle.

    She wastes no time with the head games. “So let me get this straight. You get to go all Exxon Mobile on our moon and expect the citizens of Kryzlak to go along with your little treaty?”

    “I think we can work something out.”

    Her eyes sharpen like ice. A wolf before dinner, Sylvia Barrett does not lose debates. One, she’s hot, and that’s distracting. But two, she’s brilliant…and feisty…and articulate…and to the point…and did I mention she’s hot?

    I’m about to be shredded.

    Charles nudges me, whispering. “No sweat. Kryzlack girls are easy.”

    With a blink, Sylvia turns to my red headed friend, regarding him the way one would a splotch of mustard on a shirt. She leans close and his’ adam’s apple climbs up his throat. “I’m out of your galaxy, Chuck.”

    Onstage, I find maybe thirty people in attendance because let’s face it, improve debate night doesn’t exactly appeal to the masses. Or anyone.

    Mrs. Mann skims over the rules, and between sentences we can hear the boisterous crowd at the gym, cheering on the basketball team. Buzzers sound and whistles chirp but Sylvia Barrett has pulled her hair up into a loose bun held by a pencil. I’m already sweating, and it’s not because of this ugly jacket.

    Charles and the others take their places with wide grins, thankful to be spared Sylvia’s wrath. I clear my throat, about to shed my second-hand coat and get annihilated when I spot someone waving in the third row.

    I wave back. The dark theater hides the many lines of exhaustion in my mom’s face but I can tell she’s still in her uniform—meaning she has to return to work. But her smile, shooting across like a comet on her face, so full of pride. She’s cleaned and scrubbed and clawed to get me into Westminster Academy. And so I shake my head and nod and get back to business.

    …”And welcome Sylvia and Finn. Our noble delegate from planets Kryzlack, and Earth….”

    Before we set off for the stage, Sylvia sets her hand on my arm. Her eyes hold mine. Only now they’re soft and melting, wide enough to take me in. And when her lips part like she wants to say something, I’m momentarily in love.

    “Syliva? Finn?”

    But I can’t take pity from Sylvia, or anyone else. Besides, I want her best. So I give her my jerkiest smile.

    “Ready to lose?”

    The ice returns to her eyes. Her brow falls and that perfect smile curls into a challenge.

    “Oh you’re so going down.”

    1. JRSimmang

      Pete, the conversation seems effortless in this piece, and I think you captured the anxieties and emotions of a teen-in-love perfectly. There are a couple areas that need a quick edit (putting the quotation marks in front of an ellipses, commas after conjunctions if they begin a sentence, etc.), but they don’t distract from the content of the story.

    2. writer_sk

      This story really got to me. It hit a nice stride when he got backstage. Small details brought these people to life- the index card, the idea of shedding the jacket, the pencil in the hair.

      Nice way to work in the prompt. I laughed when they wondered about the topics on the cards.

      Anyway, you have a way of making people jump off the page- full of life and charm.

      It was nice he appreciated his mom being there at the end.

    3. gamingtheblues

      Hello Pete, I am happy you posted another story this week.

      This was excellent. Better than the other comments have so far intimated. There are few prompts that I read here that could have come directly from a book, and I include my own in that. But this entry feels like it was pulled right off the pages of an adolescents’ section book,. Sort of the same age range as the goosebumps books. It is not sophisticated, or particularly poetic, nor “hjgh literature” and that is all to the good.

      Instead, this was a funny, well written slice of life that breaths. As SK mentioned, they come to life. I can see and feel and even smell your characters and their interactions. I did not see the editing mistakes first read through because I was too far into the scene, and that is all important. I have found (many) editing and printing mistakes in even professional hard cover novels. They happen, we move on.

      I can not express more how authentic this felt and how much I enjoyed reading it, except to say that, as a 14 year old kid, I would have loved to spend lazy afternoons and late nights reading about the other situations that these characters might find themselves in and making them my friends in a way that only books to ever accomplish.

  15. rlk67

    Scozzy couldn’t take it anymore. Thirteen light years minus a nanosecond as a translator at the UP (United Planets, or &% in Kryzlakish) was taking its toll. It began as a cushy job, but now he wanted to fulfill his dream of singing at the opera house. “Shnigaro…Shnigaro….Shnig-a-ROHHHHH!!!!” HIs middle heart melted.

    Now with the boring and incomprehensible speeches about treaties and moons, Scozzy wanted to snooze off, just like King Kkkkrog MCMLIX seemed like he was doing. But he couldn’t skip a paycheck since the latest Pavarotti 3D-DVD refurbished set was due out soon.

    President Norton grabbed the podium really hard. He was going in for the kill. Kkkkrog just nodded with his eyes half closed, while the other delegations sat (or in one case, hung upside down) very still.

    Norton pounded. “And the proprietary instigation will satisfy the….”

    Scozzy sighed and translated. “Zniggle lepopper fumper du..And the proprietary instigation will satisfy.” Wait…what did that Mr. Earthpuke say again?

    …the beneficiary of mining remains by a coalition…”

    Scozzy’s heads were spinning. What was this two-eyed creature saying? How can I translate if…if…

    Scozzy’s mouths all grinned together. Oh, this would be fun.

    Norton raised his voice. “The benefits of slow-age mining woud advance the cause of…”

    “Blleeeples gratsifung rolling stone mimmux…All the retro aging minerals have been given to the Rolling Stones so they can play forever…” Kkkkrog began to awaken. What was that he said?

    Norton rambled on. “…the rich culture which we continuallly represent…”

    “Splateres moonsly tirper astrodome..We will steal your moon and replace it with the Astrodome…” Scozzy tried not to snort.

    Kkkkrogs blood pressure was up to 10,000/400. He knew this man thing couldn’t be trusted.

    “And we will all live in peace.”

    “Bahhbalooo zeeks…We will blow you to pieces…”

    That was it. Kkkkrog removed his foot and began banging it on the table. “SHNIGGY CRATTS! SHNIGGY CRATS”

    Scozzy leaped in the air clapping, and translating in a screeching voice. “BURY YOOOO!!! BURY YOOOO!!!”

    Norton began to shake. What went wrong? The other delgates murmured (or in one case, belched) nervously.

    Suddenly, a huge blob from Kkkkrog’s delegation made it’s way up. “Who’s that?” asked Norton to his aide.

    “It’s the head of Kkkkrag culture ministry. Not sure why she…”

    “BLAZZABOO! SCOZZY!”

    Scozzy meekly bent his heads. “Fleemer, Embo…..Sorry, Mama.” The fun was over.

    Everyone calmed down. Norton adjusted his tie. Kkkkrog adjusted his foot.

    Norton began to speak, then gave up. Kkkkrag nodded, and fell asleep.

    Order was restored to the universe.

    The treaty was signed.

    And Mick played on.

      1. rlk67

        I often hoped that many problems and conflicts of the world might be due to a conspiracy of sorts by the translators. At least it would make an interesting book.

    1. gamingtheblues

      I loved this entry! The prompt from the perspective of the dissenters was inspired and different. Even better that this was a translation error and from aliens that seemed to not really even give a hoot, while the human blathered on and on with pretty rhetoric. The comedy was awesomely satirical. For some reason this week I keep feeling connections from other pieces…perhaps because I am a huge sci-fi buff. This really reminding me of the humor and style from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

      Nice job!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Oh, I loved this, especially the way you seamlessly described the delegates. I’ve not read everything yet, but so far this is my favorite of the week.

  16. ReathaThomasOakley

    Interplanetary Relations
    March 8, 1955

    By the year 2000 . . . . . it’s entirely possible we will have flown with men to the outer planets.
    —Dr. Werhner Von Braun

    “Mama?”

    “Yes, Annie? Hold still.” Mama sounded kinda funny, talking with her mouth full of bobby pins like most Saturday nights when I had to sleep with a head full of pin curls. I didn’t get her curly hair, Brother did, and I didn’t think that was fair at all. But, I couldn’t hardly hold still, thinking about tomorrow night.

    “You think that Dr. Von Braun is handsome?” Daddy made a funny noise through his nose. He was working on a new shrimp net hanging from the hook in the ceiling where Mama usually hung her onion bag. “Me and Marian think he’s got real nice hair.”

    “Annie, you don’t stop squirming you won’t have nice hair for church.”

    “Yes, mam.” I knew Mama wanted to get my hair finished up so she could start ironing and listening to the Grand Ole Opry. She wasn’t excited at all about what ever body at school was, that tomorrow night, March 9th, to be exact, Dr. Werhner Von Braun was gonna be on Disneyland.

    All the bulletin boards in our classroom were full of stuff cut out of magazines and I’d read ever thing at least twice. I’d even asked Mama if we could start getting Colliers instead of McCalls, but she just said, “No.” I couldn’t figure out why, but when I’d talk about Dr. Von Braun Daddy’d make a kinda snort noise and one time when he’d said “Nazi” Mama’d shushed him.

    On Friday Mrs. Knight’d had us write like it was the year 2000 and what it would be like if we were living on the moon. I thought that was pretty silly, ’cause we’d all be about fifty-five years old, and too old to be doing anything.

    Mama finally got my hair all pinned, and we went over my Bible verse for Sunday School. Mama’d used her concordance to find me a good one, Psalms 8:3, When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.

    Then, I got out my church dress, but it didn’t need ironing, and rubbed my shoes all over with Vaseline so they’d be shiny, but even after I got my head just right on the pillow so I didn’t get poked, I couldn’t sleep, thinking about outer space. What kind of rocket ships would work? What if there were other folks on the other side of the moon or on Mars or some place? What if they weren’t folks, but monsters? How would ever body talk to ever body else or get along?

    There was too much to think about, so I just thought some more about Dr. Von Braun’s hair and went to sleep.

    1. JRSimmang

      I couldn’t help but think about “October Sky” as I was reading this new Annie excerpt. 10-years old in ’55, I wonder if Annie could be looking back at these times in her life, and the real story is Lynne’s (that was her name, right?) retelling of her younger self.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you. I had to refresh my memory of the movie, didn’t know, or forgot it was based on a book. I’m sorry, but don’t understand who Lynn is. I’ve been trying to determine who Annie’s “audience” might be, who she’s relating her stories to, probably her grown up self, I don’t want her to be telling bedtime stories to her grandkids. Any input would be welcomed.

    2. writer_sk

      Beautiful work, Reatha. I’m left with the warm feeling of having heard from a child I know and care about. Great work effortlessly framing Annie’s perspective in a time and place that feels like home.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks. I’m so pleased by your comments. I’m not certain what I’m going to do after mid-December when I plan on having the first book draft done.

    3. gamingtheblues

      Very clever use of your well known, and now, well loved character of Annie to play with the “tone” of the prompt, versus that literal prompt itself and I really appreciate the distinction. This was excellently written and you seem to have that sweet writer’s spot of being able to put yourself into your characters’ world and just report instead of having to create. It is always a pleasure to read about Annie and this week was no different.

    4. jhowe

      Reatha, how you managed to weave an Annie tale from this prompt is amazing. Loved it. Did people really rub Vaseline on their shoes? I never heard of it. It seems stuff would stick to the leather.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, the shoes were black patent leather, only worn for dress up times. White ones needed this chalky liquid applied with a spongy thing. I think the bottle referenced nurses’ shoes. I must google.

  17. writer_sk

    ———- Forwarded message ———
    From: Kohm, Sarah
    Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 02:03
    The message from Kryzlak was delivered by capsule to headquarters. NASA watched as the Emperor of the unruly planet ripped up a copy of the Outer Space Treaty. Officer Smythe swallowed the last of her rationed Gunyunk and took off her imask. It had been 50 years since Earth divided into two colonies: the Domers and the Separatists. Smythe, like others, tolerated dome life but was wistful for the freedom of open air and roaming her planet as she liked. This new development, however, escalated the issue and she knew Earth’s leaders would view it as an act of war. The Kryzlaks were after the precious substance found in Earth’s core, Gunyunk, which replaced caffeine and when boiled, could be weaponized. It had other useful properties yet to be fully developed but the supply was, so far, limited. Its strength varied dependent upon its form.

    Her cot was cold as Smythe reached for her sleep pod inside BioDome 11, where she lived with other NASA scientists. Her partner was at their vacation home on Earth’s moon and she longed to feel his embrace. Her droid transmitted the hologram of his last message onto the cloth wall. She kissed it, placed her ration dish and Gunyunk drawer outside her pod, plugged her wellness cord into the base of her spine and closed her eyes for the mandatory 8 hours of sleep. She dreamed of being on the moon with Remie. His handsome and kind face smiled as he brought her through the gardens and into the synthetic moon waterfalls. Her fear was washed clean by the moon’s peaceful habitat. The missiles rained down on Earth but there had been a miscalculation by Kryzlak’s Emperor Tyme and the fighter jets from the nearby allied galaxy of Az intercepted most of the attack. The ships put up a green and crimson force field generated by the powerful and multifunctional substance, Gunyunk. All the work Smythe and her team had done in the lab extracting Gunyunk from stone and studying it was paying off now as human kind fought for intergalactic peace.

    Smythe rose up, the fog from her dream about Remie melted away as he stood in front of her with the door of his old Stream Racer 700 spaceship swung open to greet her. He had an extra, small dose of Gunyunk in solid form and he ripped it in half, placing a piece on her tongue and kissing her lips.

    Earth was at war for now, Kryzlak, now angered at being shown up would come back and try again to gain control over the Gunyunk-rich planet. For now, Smythe and Remie journeyed to Earth’s moon to continue their important work at the hidden moon lab developing synthetic Gunyunk.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Great job getting this complicated situation pulled together so well. In the second paragraph I wasn’t certain if she was still dreaming or if war had started. Even after Remie appeared I was a bit confused. I could relate to the Gunyunk, my husband and I love coffee that could be weaponized. Nice finale.

      1. writer_sk

        Reatha, thank you! I look forward to hearing your insight each week and appreciate your time.
        Yes, I see that now- it is not clear where the dream ends. I bet I could clear that up with careful editing. Was Wary of this long prompt at first but ending up loving where it took me.

        Lol – right coffee as weapon!!

    2. JRSimmang

      I’m in agreement with Reatha. This story seems fragmented, and I think that’s a result of the word count crunch. For me, the story is between Remie and Smythe, her (implied) dependence on Gunyunk, and the peacefulness the Moon provides them both.

      1. writer_sk

        Wonderful to hear your thoughts as always, JR.

        thank u for painting that out – I had not intended to imply she was hooked on Gunyunk substance but you’re right – it presented as that, exactly. The idea calecfrom a story I told my son about a good planet vs a bad planet and how they each used a powerful substance. I think that tale is worth weaving into this story more.

        Now when you say fragmented do you mean it doesn’t transition well? Because I ended up liking this topic and plan to make my story longer. I welcome your thoughts if u get a chance!!

        1. JRSimmang

          I’m glad you’ve decided to make the story longer. Length gives you the opportunity to take the fragments I mentioned and make them into great details. When I say fragmented, I mean there are few transitions between concepts. The first paragraph is history, and it moves too quickly here (which can be resolved with a longer “preface” of sorts), the second paragraph reads like an introduction, but I feel the second half deserves its own paragraph to explain why Smythe is eager to be back on the moon. Also, I felt the appearance of Remie was too abrupt. Again, this can resolved with more space.
          I think you have great bones here, with plenty of room to expand.

    3. gamingtheblues

      I will not belabor the other points already made in the comments, instead I will limit myself to my own personal reflections as I read. I find the idea of an all powerful substance interesting and mildly comedic in an unintended way. Just think of something that you drink and eat on a consistent basis that if you accidentally boil, you blow yourself up!

      I agree that you should take time to explore the potential negative aspects of such an all encompassing substance and the societies established, ie… “mandatory sleep?? “wellness cord?” Seems like an under the surface distopia to me. . I would think that dependency would be almost impossible to avoid in a number of ways beyond biological. I look forward to next weeks prompt!

      1. writer_sk

        Gaming!

        Thank you for reading and commenting. Right, the substance as food and a weapon – it is unintentionally funny. I got the idea because of something I read about called the “molasses accident of 1919” in which molasses spilled from
        A huge water tower and killed people. They’d been using it to make bombs.
        Anyway thank you. I’m expanding this and your input is valuable. Yes, the dependency or certainly the demand for the substance will continue to be the motivator behind most of the action.

  18. Lex Noël

    “Delegates of the Intergalatic Committee of Planetary Relations, war is upon us,” I pause. I’m overwhelmed by the number of delegates and the eruption of murmuring.

    “If we wish to keep the peace we must make variations to the treaty. We must be able to harvest the Lunar Basalts from Earth’s moon,” I continue. “They are our only hope of creating weapons strong enough to destroy the Annihilatins. They are relentless, ruthless killers and they will stop at nothing until they’ve claimed Earth, Lux, Ventus and Lapis. Do not think for one moment that our capture will satisfy their lust for power and resources. They will find reason to claim us all, and unless we wield weapons to stop them, we do not stand a chance.”

    “Agaaaiiin wit zee lunar basalts,” Kryt, the delegate from Kryzlak, calls out from his seat. “Kryzish basalts ‘ave been harvested for centuries and ‘ave powered a myriad of weapons not only for the ICPR, but any military operation. You greedy Earthlings are always looking for ways to rob lesser planets. Mining on your moon means more jobs and more money for your people, while we Kryzlakians waste away.”

    “Kryzish basalts are a far cry from lunar as they are the most deteriorated basalts in all the galaxy,” I pause again, blood boiling. Kryt has some nerve. Waste away indeed. Kryzlakians would be living in abundance if Kryt and the rest of the royal family would share the wealth. Instead they stuff their three bellies each with enough food to feed half of Kryzlak while hoarding mountains of gold within their palace walls. Yes, harvesting the moon will take away jobs from the Kryzlakians, but it will guarantee the safety of the entire galaxy. Sacrifices must be made.

    “Lunar basalts have eighteen times the amount of iron and its mineral content is unchanged by water. No other basalts in the galaxy have such potential for weapons of mass destruction. We need to alter the treaty, and we must harvest on Earth’s moon. We’ve already lost Vitae and Arbor. Earth’s Board of Lunar Agriculture is prepared to begin mining immediately, and has set aside three hundred positions for citizens from other planets to claim if they wish. We must be ready, and we must work together.” I take a deep breath and scan the room. Three hundred delegates. I need at least one hundred and fifty votes. Ideally two hundred to make it unanimous.

    “All those in favor?” I ask, my voice tight. Kryt mumbles something under his breath and sinks into his chair. It creaks and bends, barely able to hold he enormous man’s weight. All around the room hands shoot up into the air. Ten, fifty, eighty, one-twenty…

    Unanimous.

    1. JRSimmang

      I am curious about the analogs to these characters and problem. There is usually no greater common enemy than that of total annihilation, or Annihilatans. Your names are great, as is the characterization of the MC. It’s interesting, your weaving of political and economic intrigue with the threat of war.

    2. gamingtheblues

      I do not believe I have seen you write a prompt before? But perhaps I have just missed it! Either way, I agree completely with Reatha. The absolute most appropriate word for your entry is smooth. The story scope is tight and well written. Enough sci-fi talk and political intrigue to create interest, mixed with concise sentence structure. This is a great snap shot of a much larger galactic story.

  19. seahorse2

    The room was lit with hundreds of fluorescents, the chief of which being an irritating florescent directly above my head that whined and skittered in time to the badly calibrated speaker. I adjusted my suit pants and fiddled with my earring as I looked out over the group of grudgingly friendly faces, and almost tried to skip the Kryzlakian ambassador. Kryzlak, so I was told, was never going to give up its position. In a combination of planetary eco-presevation turned isolationism, Kryzlak was unwilling to sign my peace treaty, and after having labored months over that particular package of working, there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I was going to be able to go easy on the Kyrlakian ambassador. I was going to beat them down. I would make them pay in sanctions until they came begging me for mercy. Then, they would know what woman not to mess with-
    -Until I actually looked at the Kryzlak ambassador and I noticed who it was. I turned over to look at him and sure enough.
    “Devon Pandanelli?”
    Devon smiled. I looked left and then right and then snuck over to sit next to Devon. Devon and I used to go to school together, if you called it that with most of it being on the internet these days. At any rate, we were on one of the same generational space vessels that brought us into deep space. That was before teleportation finlly got that “fry you instantly” problem worked out.
    “Where is the Kryzlakian ambassador?”
    “I am the Kryzlakian ambassador,” he said.
    “No, I would trust you with a shoelace, and here you are representing Kyzlak?”
    “A shoelace?”
    “You did a lot with a shoelace,” I reminded him. He thought about it and laughed.
    “You know you’re going to make this negotiation a whole lot harder on me,” Devon said, “Earth and it’s rather draconian mining tax has been killing us for about a decade. Sure, we want to terraform and preseve resources, but that’s only because it’s not economically viable.”
    “It’s the tax that you’re worried about?” I asked.
    Devon nodded, “If it weren’t for the tax, you’d get your peace initiative.”
    I shrugged, “10% and no extraneous fees?”
    “I’ll do 9%.”
    “And leave on the income?”
    “You’re taking the income stipulation?”
    “Who does income anymore intergalactically speaking,” I asked him.
    He shrugged, “10% then, but I’ve got to know before the vote goes through.”
    I sent off a text, “It’ll take two hours to reach Zamben, but there is an officer there who can back up my decision. You have no idea how glad I am it was you, Devon.”
    “Trust me with the shoelaces now?” Devon asked.
    I laughed, “One thing at a time.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      Hi seahorse!

      I felt like this was almost two different stories. The first background half seemed a little disjointed and unsure of the tone it wanted to take. But I actually really enjoyed the back and forth negotiation between Devon and the MC. It sounds realistic and was well written dialogue. Which is actually interesting, as dialogue is typically harder to write than exposition.

      So, in a way, I think you could almost lose most of the exposition, and just keep the dialogue with only the barest hint of the background, or even expand the conversation, as the interaction is real meat and joy of this piece.

      Thanks for sharing and keep writing!

  20. k.trout

    New Member. First post. First prompt. 571 words. You can harangue me for it later as you grumble something unintelligible from behind your azaleas.

    “Look, my daughter has a ballet recital at six thirty tonight, Earth-time. We’ve got to wrap this up in the next hour.” says delegate Obama.
    “See, this is what I’m talking about.”, says Ouija Karbekien “We’ve got a moon with over twenty-thousand workers suffering from deplorable working conditions and any Earthling motivations supersede the current treaty no matter how insignificant, even a pointless rendition of The Nutcracker.” The purple veins on the Kryzlak’s representative begin to pulse in mounting frustration.
    “Insignificant? Pointless?”, says Obama furrowing his brow. “It’s something called ‘The Arts’. On planet Earth, we like to promote creativity and individuality. That’s the problem with the citizens of Kryzlak. You’ve created a society that only endorses hate, war and in-fighting. If you’d be able to see things from someone else’s perspective, maybe we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now.”
    “We’re in this situation because Earthlings decided to burn fossil fuels, destroy their atmosphere and mine our moon to replenish the oxygen using Kryzlak workers without allowing adequate time-off to recharge.”
    The room goes silent. With the exception of a Martian slurping a mercury Frostie from the GM11 vending machine.
    Obama reclines in his chair, resting the index fingers of his clasped hands on his bottom lip. He rotates in his chair to face the choreographed spaceship traffic dance outside the floor-to-celling windows. “On Kryzlak, your people have eighty-eight hour work days and rest for four hours before returning to work. And, that’s because they fully recharge at home by imbibing sea-algae which is their equivalent to Earthling’s requirement for sleep. Correct?”
    Ouija answers, “Yes. Our brains process the algae to cleanse themselves. That’s much of the reason why we’ve been able to accomplish so much in our society since the Swamp Age. We all know this and so do you, how does repeating a known fact help us here Earth genius?”
    “On Earth, we’ve recently developed focused-beam electro-magnets to recover ancient ship-wrecks. Those hunks of metal are recycled or re-purposed after the recovery but the algae is often burnt off in process as we have no practical use for it. One recovered ship-wreck typically has seven thousand kilos of algae which is equivalent to the algae consumed by Kryzlak’s entire population in a given year.”
    “Yes. And…”, says Ouija, leaning forward, resting his elbows on the conference table.
    “What if we were to reverse the polarity of those same electro-magnets, pushing the ship-wreckage into a trajectory destined for Kryzlak and provide that algae as a trade in exchange for the ceaseless labor of the Kryzlak workers on your moon, Ester, and include the precious iron, which is not available on Kryzlak as a good will gesture?”
    “I’ll have to run it by the Ester labor union, but for the benefit of not having to dip into our own reserves, I’m sure the union would be willing to that make that agreement for the advancement of the Kryzlak people.”
    Obama jumps up from his chair and extends his hand to Ouija. The brown and purple flesh intermingle, shaking on the agreement. “Whooo-diggity, no doubt.”, exclaims Obama. “Fire up the thrusters Joey Biden, the thirty-first. Time to catch my girl’s testicle stompin’ debut!”
    “Can we stop on the way and pick up one of those Frostie’s Ronnie has?”
    Obama slaps Biden across the face. “Shut the —k up Biden. Just be happy I let you get off the transporter.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      First off, welcome to our little writing corner of the internet! As for the word count and haranguing, I have sometimes thrown out prompts with 900+ words and have even sometimes felt guilty about it (not often) so while my outrage does twitch at those 71 extra words, we will let it slide. Also, I would have you know that I have not a single azalea on my glass and steel draft table turned writing/computing desk. They are white lotus flowers, cut at precisely 15 and 12/24th inches that all me to feel properly sophisticated.

      Now, moving on.

      The satirical, tongue in cheek style of writing that you employ is as sharp as a lemon wedge in the cheek and a slap on the face. I have to leave for work, so do not have team for more of a response but suffice to say, this was actually very well written, excellent wit and the satire is real.

      One point of dissension. “says” was used a little too much I think, it was a tiny bit distracting from the rest of the insanity going on, unless it was intentional. Then yeah, I’ll just shut up!

      Can’t wait to see your next prompt.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      k., welcome. I enjoyed this on many levels, including the Swamp reference and the calmness of the Earth negotiator. Now for my take on the 500 word thing. While I have gone over a number of times, I have truly benefited, and I think my writing has gotten sharper, from taking time to evaluate every word before I post. But, this is just my experience.

      Hope to see you next week.

  21. RafTriesToWrite

    I checked the hologram one last time. Only one planet still hasn’t voted, or rather neglected to vote. Planet Kryzlak. This would be a tough one, considering our history together, it would almost be impossible to make them sign the treaty.

    “We’ve all gathered here to address an important matter” The delegate of planet Yeeeaboii spoke. “Bob from Earth, if you will”

    “Thank you, Morkdrak of Yeeeaboii” I stood up and took the stage. “As you all see in the holograms in front of you, we still need one more signature from one more planet for the treaty to be in full effect” Everyone looked at the delegate of planet Kryzlak in unison.

    “Krygbroog Bhulaskjork, brughlremks kloombpalompa brackenlyroy” Lorkbruck from Planet Kryzlak spoke.

    “Please put on your translator” Fuarghuard from planet Deeznuts told Lorkbruck.

    “Fuarghuard is right. No one understood anything you blabbered just now” Ztrybkrly from planet Onethiccbih followed.

    Lorkbruck moaned but proceeded to wear the translator. “What I said was, our planet does not agree to this treaty, not after what planet earth has done to our moon!” He exclaimed.

    “But you have 9 moons! That’s 7 more than ours!” Beembloop from planet Cashmeoussie said.

    “It’s no excuse for what they’ve done to ours!” Lorkbruck looked directly at me.

    “I know what our planet has done to your moon. But the united nations of Earth have provided me with a solution” I got my briefcase and searched for the disc that President Henry gave me.

    “I’m listening” Lorkbruck crossed his arms and lay back as he waited.

    “Aha” I murmured when I found the disc. I held it up and placed it on the ground and turned it on.

    “This list includes all of the things that we would do if you sign the treaty, and I think you’re gonna like the last one” Everyone looked at the bottom, including Lorkbruck.

    “How?” Lorkbruck asked. I knew he would bite. Restoring the natural beauty of their moon, is the least we could do, after our little mining colonies “incident” a few decades ago. Plus it sounded like the best way to make these Kryzlaks agree to the treaty at the time. If it doesn’t work, there’s always plan B called Operation A.S.K.I.T.S. which is also known as Annihilating Selfish Kryzlaks In Their Slumber.

    “Let’s just say we have the technology, with a little help from planet Deeznuts of course” Fuarghuard nodded his head in agreement. Lorkbruck looked at me and Fuarghuard, then back at the list in the hologram.

    “Okay, Planet Krygzlak agrees” Lorkbruck spoke, then proceeded to sign at the treaty on the hologram.

    “And that’s pretty much it sir” I spoke.

    “That’s good to hear. Operation A.S.K.I.T.S. was just a bluff anyway” Henry, President of the United Nations said.

    “W-wait, s-so…” I swallowed.

    “Yes, you would’ve been devoured on the spot, but hey, at least you’re still here right?” He laughed then gave me a tap on the back and went on to only God knows where.

  22. chandra_wd_writer

    I haven’t been on this forum for a long time. I just wrote the following paragraphs quickly to flex my muscles. Haven’t been writing anything and couldn’t see this through the end. Just wanted to share here anyhow.

    “For the benefit and in the interests of all countries.” That’s what our ancestors thought in 1967. That’s a long time ago. Now this is the era of intergalactic wars. Humanity for once found common enemies beyond themselves. For once, United Nations is more real than fiction. Nations as we know now never existed a century ago. Two world wars that broke rewrote the history of humanity forever. 2967 it is. Humanity is more united than ever and the nations more cooperative than ever. If it’s not for the intergalactic wars, the earth would have come to ashes in the past fifty years. That’s a lot of history condensed into a paragraph. I am the chosen delegate to negotiate the space treaty with planets that are much more sophisticated than what we were a few decades ago. Visitors from Palzyrkia planet helped us advance our technology in the last 50 years. They claim they once lived briefly on planet earth as a stop, and it’s their turn to give back to the land that sheltered them. You don’t have to know all this history. History is dead. No one reads history anymore.

    I wish I could negotiate in English. Triazliken is unpronounceable by any living beings. The Kryzlaks are robots. They claim to work for another planet whose name no one knows. All Kryzlaks say is they are slave robots who work for their masters from a different planet. The Kryzlaks can’t understand any other language than Triazliken.

    If it’s not for Kryzlaks, we would be negotiating in English. English is beautiful. Even the Martians love it. They colonized Mars when we earthlings were busy with world wars. Again history. Sorry for that. But Martians are our friends. They can’t risk being our enemies now.

    Now back to this space treaty. Kryzlaks don’t like we mining in their moon. Their moon is of our earth’s size. Kryzlaks have no particular interest in their moon but they consider it as a sacred space where their masters go after their death. Kryzlaks are true slaves.

      1. chandra_wd_writer

        Thanks Reatha. Not sure if I could go on developing. Had a fifteen minutes break at work to see if I can still write stuff down. Thanks for reading.

    1. JRSimmang

      Glad you hopped in, Chandra! No matter the content, we’re content to read!
      As a reintroduction, I think you’ve nailed some hard truths about society in general. I think this piece could be stronger if you were to choose a moment you’ve written about, then begin your story there. For me, I want to know the Kryzlak history; a planet of androids is fascinating! I also want to know what Triazliken is and why it’s unpronounceable.

      1. chandra_wd_writer

        Thank you for reading. I am really glad you read it even though it’s just introduction without any ending. You gave me really good pointers to think about if I ever want to proceed with this prompt again.

  23. cosi van tutte

    After months of bitter arguments and hostile negotiations, everyone on The Intergalactic Committee for Planetary Relations was in agreement on The Outer Space Treaty.

    I’d finally be able to go back to Earth and retire.

    Then, Kryn, the delegate for Kryzlak (who had been silent through it all) stood and spoke.

    “This is all very lovely and nice. It’s so nice to see everyone in agreement.” Kryn flipped his tufted ears over his shoulders. “Yes. Let’s all join together and hold hands and drink this human’s qqulloa. Never mind how his kind betrayed each other and stabbed each other in the back at every possible moment for any given reason. Yes, let’s live by their principles. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, I don’t know. How about their disastrous mining colonies on all of Kryzlak’s moons?”

    I sighed. Why did Kryzlak have to participate in this agreement? Why did anyone invite them? “We had no idea that the micro-ecosystems on your moons were that delicate.”

    Kryn smiled. “Oh, you didn’t know. That’s strange. I know we warned you. No, wait. I warned you personally.”

    “Delegate Kryn. Let’s put that unfortunate set of circumstances—”

    “Set of circumstances? All of our moons are dead.”

    I cleared my throat. “Delegate Kryn. What happened, happened. You can point fingers and accuse, but—”

    “All of our moons are dead because of your greed.”

    “It is a great tragedy, yes, but—”

    “Our planet is starting to suffer from the loss of life on our moons. I warned you of that too, but I believe you said something along the lines of ‘Oh! You Zylaks are all such worrywarts. Nothing’s going to happen. We’ve done this before to great success.’ Ohh, what was that other line you used?”

    “Delegate Kryn. Things happen. Things go wrong. We had no control over the situation.”

    He laughed. “You said that you had perfect control over the situation. Perfect control.”

    “That has nothing to do with this current agreement, Delegate Kryn.”

    “Oh? I seem to recall that one of the rules of your planet’s Outer Space Treaty was ‘States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects and avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.'” He smirked. “I would say that has everything to do with this agreement. Wouldn’t you agree?”

    He rose from his seat. “Wouldn’t you all agree?”

    I cringed as the other delegates muttered amongst themselves. I had a bad feeling that Kryn just dragged us back to the beginning.

    Kryn locked eyes with me. “I’m so sorry, but I cannot accept this agreement or any other agreement with you and your kind.” He arched his eyebrow and settled back into his seat. “End of conversation.”

    1. gamingtheblues

      Yes, I agree strongly with the others. While the style was light and moved along nicely, there are deep deep waters here. A little bubbling creek in the woods, with 50 foot drops in dark pools. Not bad at all.

  24. Russ

    “Rabble rabble rebble!” One Crematon yelled out.
    “English, please!” a Martian yelled out. “We all agreed we would have this meeting… in English!” The Martian looked back at me. “Please proceed, Earthling. I’m sure that everyone, especially someone in particular,” he looked at the Crematon, “will not interrupt.”
    I cleared me throat. “Thank you Darzkikayout. As I was saying, Earth I believe deserves a little more goulak (the interplanetary currency of the Milky-way Galaxy), for we try hard to help out our planet, but look at us! We are devastated! We are in shambles!”
    “I concur!” the delegate from the planet, Zylon, yelled out. The whole crowd all looked at him, but the delegate didn’t say anymore and sat back down.
    “Anyways…” I continued, “Earth deserves a little more… and we just need one more on our side. I mean, come on! Look at our situation!”
    “I think that if anyone would disagree with you, they would be absolute morons,” the commander from Heron said and sat back down.
    “Morons?,” the one who was obviously against Earth’s plea yelled, “Morons? Did you say morons? We are no morons, we just don’t like Earth. Simple as that!”
    “Rabble rabble rebbel!” the cremation yelled out again. And after this the entire crowd began yelling and shouting.
    I just sat back down and put my hands through my hair. This meeting would never end… I won’t even be able to stop by the space center grocery and by some space milk for my family…

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Just another day at the office, trying to get out before the stores close. Hmm, trying to recall, didn’t I just see a recent moron reference? No, must be mistaken. Good job.

  25. GrahamLewis

    I almost skipped this prompt because it brought back painful memories of law school exams. But on further review, I did get an at least semi-creative idea.

    Welcome, Delegates to the Intergalactic Committee For Interplanetary Relations.

    I am honored to represent the United Nations of the Planet Earth as we discuss this invaluable and absolutely essential treaty for the peaceful use of space. As any of you who have studied Earth history know, we have a unique history of conflict and resolution, which ended three earth-centuries back, when we were entangled in a war that threatened to destroy our planet. At that time we realized that modern technology has made war not only inconvenient but absolutely unacceptable. For that reason we have long advocated this treaty, which includes provision for mandatory enforcement.

    As you also know, Representatives of the Planet Kryzlak have, with some justification, refused to sign the Treaty. They are the sole remaining objectors. As we have made clear in previous discussions, this is a matter of utmost urgency. In other times, other eras, other circumstances, the better path would be negotiation and compromise. But we on Earth have learned, from painful experience, that peace is non-negotiable, conflict unacceptable, and immediate adoption of this treaty absolutely essential.

    For that reason we have at this moment annihilated Kryzlak.

    Are there any other objections to immediate adoption of the Treaty? Hearing none, I declare the Treaty in force.

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