When disease surfaces in a world long free of illness, the old techniques for containment must be put in place, if anyone can remember how. Incubators is free on Readwave 2705 words
A little bit of sci fi first published in Powfast Fiction in 2010 and re-posted here in the interests of promoting (see what I did there?) recycling: http://conboyhillfiction.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/promotion/. Very short.
Do you remember ‘No Arrests in 2039’ on Every Day Fiction? No? Great – it’ll be all fresh when you listen to the podcast then! And you might think twice about falling crime statistics …
‘I keep thinking we should have left it to die, you know, rather than do what we did …’ on Read Short Fiction today. A tale of a personal road to hell paved with the best of intentions. What choices would you have made?
Fliss compressed her short, squat frame further into the burned out hollow of the hull, shoving Hennessey’s evacuated carcass aside and flicking indeterminate debris casually off her weapons harness. She holed up to consider strategy.
Fliss was a soldier; a grunt on the peri-solar defence ring where killing aliens, not caring platitudes, got you through a shift. She looked down at her uniform, or what passed for one after this morning’s skirmish, and scraped off the residue it had collected from the blast that took out her unit’s communications array. Most of her squad had gone with it and some of the residue was biological but Fliss didn’t much care whose just so long as it wasn’t hers. She kicked the mess away with her boot, checked out her shoulder mountings for ammunition and headed off into the silence that used to be the galley. One survivor, not human. She shot it without ceremony and moved on, disregarding the plea for help it had registered on its translation device.
Fliss was not given to social communication; few of them here were, thrust out onto the edges of civilisation. How long had it been? Ten years? And had any relief units been sent up? No! A flicker of anger caught momentarily then disappeared under Fliss’s cold dismissal. She had avoided execution by taking this option and the company of like-minded ‘volunteers’ had proved physically and sexually entertaining. No hardship, she concluded, hefting aside the stinking morass that had been another invader and squirming through the gap in the bulkhead towards the bridge. She opened a com channel and hissed a command. They’d better be there or she’d make them wish the bastard crawlers had got them. A slight smile curled up one side of her mouth, that might be an entertaining distraction if push came to shove.
The ship hummed and throbbed as its automated repair systems got started on reconstruction. Fliss wiped something viscous off her face and onto her pants and the fabric felt slick with – what? Blood? Vomit? No, lubrication oil, some of the life support gaskets must have blown – shit! She pressed on, the urgency was cranking up; if this tub was holed too seriously…
The bridge was empty. A huge gap in the far skin was sealed now by the emergency force field unit but not before what was left of the crew had been spaced. One body remained, the commander, an honest woman here out of duty. Fliss probed Mackenzie’s top pocket for her ID, lingering momentarily over a breast hardened with rigor – nice tits, shame – then ran the bio-chip through her scan-and-rip software and elevated herself to officer class. Might as well be her family got the compensation payout as anyone else’s she thought. She stuck the tag into the sub light transfer unit and squatted down next to Mackenzie’s body to wait for the air to run out.
(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012. First published on PowFastFiction, October 2010. Sadly, PowFast is now closed so I had to find a new home for this nasty little psychopath before she ran out of aliens and crew-mates.
Wondering how the universe works? Here’s your answer: ‘A very particular view’ out on E Victoria Flynn’s Roadside Attractions today.