Swine to Pearls

Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction: Steamed

Flash Fiction Challenge: Steamed
Posted on March 5, 2016 by Administrators

Oscar had been fishing this stream since he was a boy and he knew it like the back of his hand. Today, something was definitely not right.

Suddenly, steam erupted from the ground a few hundred yards away. As he stared in disbelief, a second geyser erupted closer to him.

What the heck is going on?

The water in the stream suddenly turned muddy and he could feel it getting warmer. Bubbles began churning the surface of the water. As Oscar began backing toward the bank, he could feel the river bed shaking beneath his feet…

(end of prompt)

Oscar tapped his exosolar communicator. “First Officer Oscar Alberius, Scout Division of the IUP Nulli Secundus, reporting suspicious activity.”

“IUP Sans Pareil receives. Go ahead.”

“Geological disturbances observed on Elisiayam-7. Mining activity suspected but not confirmed. On personal leave via unicraft. Request permission to join pending scout team.”

“Understood. Stand by.”

Oscar was born to biologists on Elisiayam-7, designated a nature reserve by the Intergalactic Union of Planets. Although Oscar spent much of his youth in IUP academies, Elisiayam-7 was home. Unfortunately the Parvomalums, who Oscar suspected of mining beneath Elisiayam-7’s dark side, didn’t care. Practically everyone knew it harbored precious resources far beneath the surface, but they also knew inherently complicated extraction could eventually destroy Elisiayam-7 by altering plate tectonics and the magnetosphere.

Commander Augustus Bonroy commended Oscar’s service record and approved his participation, contingent upon briefing. He could dock in two days.

Oscar saw the first Parvo Destroyer at four o’clock from behind Elisiayam-7’s largest moon. Knowing he’d been detected, he activated his unicraft recorder. If he couldn’t escape the five Destroyers an automated message would activate.

Oscar pushed a red button and completed clearance procedures as he flew toward Stefalto, Elisiayam-7’s tallest mountain. Dodging blasts from closing Destroyers, Oscar flew straight up a cliff until near the ledge.

The computer continued, “Three seconds…” Oscar flew upside-down into the closing formation. “One second… Self-destruct initiating.” One explosion rippled space like a pebble hitting a tiny puddle. Five more followed in rapid succession. Elisiayam-7 would be saved.


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