Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The barrier


Start of story: A sliver of red

A sliver of red | There it is | The barrier | More than a job | Inside | tba

Todd scratched at the stubble that had formed on his chin.  He had lost track of the days since they had arrived and took a few seconds to call up a display of elapsed time.  Two days.

A small one-person transport had arrived in the vicinity of the asteroid half a day after they had.  Rather than holding station it had cruised straight towards one of the main access points on the asteroid.  The ordnance that had obliterated it had been impressive.  Todd had watched the video of the attack over and over.  It had only lasted a few seconds, but from what he could discern at least three of the orbiting craft had unloaded on the transport.  It didn't stand a chance.  The sinusoidal blue beam that had flicked on then off from the Tmolos cruiser looked sufficient to destroy the craft on its own.  Half a minute later debris from its shattered remains added to the pock-marking that decorated the asteroid.

"Why are they so protective?"  Shuang asked, watching the video loop again on the main screen.

"Squatters rights."  Todd said.  "They got here first, and no-one with bigger guns has arrived to shift them."

"For a chunk of rock?"  Shuang asked.

Todd paused the video and increased magnification on the point on the asteroid the one-person transport had aimed for.  An access point.  Sharp metallic reflections distinguished a perfect circular section of the asteroid from the rock strewn surface.  Around the perimeter of the metallic disk a circle of markings stood out, as though raised from the surface.  It was unmistakably writing in an unknown language.

"See those?"  Todd asked.  "They've been seen before."

He threw a series of still images on to one half of the screen.  Each contained an image of an asteroid, differing in shape and composition, but each had a section picked out and enlarged.  The enlarged image contained an access point similar to the one on the asteroid nearby.  Each contained the same markings.

"We got these images as part of a trade exchange with the Athis."  Todd said.  "I don't think they meant to include them.  These asteroids have been appearing intermittently over the last four thousand years.  It seems like when they detect sufficient divergent species orbiting them - then the access points come to life.  You can get in.  That's why they haven't smeared us across the void - we're another tick in the box."

"And the transport?"  Shuang asked.

"They pushed their luck."  Todd said.  "Anyway, the records that went along with these images suggest that there is something inside.  If you can get to it first."  He paused.  "Well, it's unclear.  But each civilisation that reaches it first - they tend to leap forward in their development."

"So you plan to get inside?"  Shuang asked.


"Or be smeared across the void."

Todd laughed.  "There is that chance."  He said.  "But there's a gap in the orbital coverage.  If I can time it right - with a small enough payload - I think I can get to one of those access points."

"And then what?"  Shuang asked.

Todd shrugged.  He didn't have a plan for when he got inside.  Getting inside would be hard enough.  The information trade with the Athis hadn't given any hints as to what the interior of these mysterious asteroids contained.

James Aston
Story 2018-08-21, part 3 (up to) of N (tbd)
646 words

A sliver of red | There it is | The barrier | More than a job | Inside | tba

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The coffee shop

2018-08-26 18-53-UK) T.P.

Haille sat in the coffee shop staring at the crema as it swirled around on the surface of the liquid.  His mind was elsewhere thinking about the collision in near orbit that had almost taken his life.  The debris of that collision still circled the Earth.  It haunted him.

James Aston
29 words

c.f. Agencies.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

There it is

Published: 2018-08-21 1207)UK T.P.

Start of story: A sliver of red

A sliver of red | There it is | The barrier | More than a job | Inside | tba

He noticed the signs on the environmental display of her moving through the ship to the control room before he heard her steps.   Todd continued to flick through images and video footage as she entered the room and made her way through the maze of narrow gaps to sit in the seat next to him.

"Here."  He said, sending a video graphic on to one of the main screens in front of them.  "You'll like this."  Todd enhanced the image to pick out a fuzzy ball of dark greys against the pitch black background.  "It's a Tmolus battle cruiser.  Very rare.  We haven't had any contact with the Tmolus race in over four hundred years.  Thought they'd wiped themselves out."

Todd watched the fuzzy image as it spun slowly.  "But apparently not."

"What's their thing?"  Shuang asked, at least feigning interest.

"That's a good question."  Todd said.  He knew that the deep character piece she was writing was focused on himself, but he liked to give her some breadth to work with.  "We don't know.  Couldn't decipher any of their communications.  But then we haven't really tried that hard.  Every time we've encountered them they were lurking around long dead battle fields.  We thought it best to keep a wide berth."

"Have you encountered them before?"  Shuang asked.

"No."  Todd said.  He cut the video stream.  He could feel himself throwing up a barrier but sometimes her probing questions about his personal history or personal feelings were too much for him.

"So we're here then?"  Shuang asked.

"Yeah."  Todd let a grin sweep across his face.  They were here.  It had paid off.

"How does that make you feel?"

"Happy."  That question he could handle.

James Aston
Story 2018-08-21, part 2 of N (tbd)
285 words

A sliver of red | There it is | The barrier | More than a job | Inside | tba

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What is Shattered Prose?

2018-08-16 21-58)UK T.P.

Shattered Prose is an ideas and prose construction site currently hosting the ideas and prose created by Stephen J. Hunt.  All copyright is Stephen J. Hunt.  Various character names are used on pages.  No permission is given to use this elsewhere.

Stephen Hunt.
2018-08-16 22:00

twitter: @stephenjhunt

Hell, damn, blast

2018-08-16 20-57)UK T.P.

Hell, damn, blast.

3 words

Links from
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Universe as element

2018-06-18 0802)UK T.P.

Let's think about the structure of the universe as we perceive it, its inception and its potential late states.  Then think of it if it were a part of a larger framework of structure if place existed outside the cosmic microwave background curtain.

As a toroidal travel facilitator
  • It could have an ultimate late state that is similar to a torus with a singular black hole at the centre, suction whirlpools that stretch in from the curtain to meet or enwrap the black hole.
  • In this state an object could be directed towards the universe from outside, and with sufficient finesse of approach be redirected as desired,
  • Or accelerated, decelerated, started from a stop, or stopped from speed to enmesh inside the universe.
As an atomic (at scale) element in a larger construction
  • It could have a late state that is similar to Hydrogen to act as a building block in a wider toolkit for construction.  The life that spins around inside it - are we a Hydrogen sonata? [1]
As a starting point for a physical rationale for consciousness
  • Inverting attention to look the other way, if such mechanisms exist then they may exist in a similar pattern at small scale.  In effect suggesting an internal structure for atomic elements or fabric atomic points.  (Atomic having layered / folded meanings here - to represent non-decomposable units.)
0000 words

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[1] Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata.

Intrigue points and strand stagnation avoidance

2018-06-25 2109)UK T.P.

- So strand death could be a thing

Maybe, maybe strand stagnation if there is a competitive outside

- and so a search for potential intrigue points might occur


- Intrigue that might allow sacrifice to expand on that area to try to find new ways to connect, to rescue, to bind to, or to otherwise get out of a situation of strand stagnation, even if complete strand traversal is already possible


Edited (typo): ioraxa 2018-08-16 1916)UK T.P.
000 words

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Prose optimisation

2018-06-14 1039)UK T.P.

- I wonder if they optimised their optimiser selection process

+ You can't say that

- pardon

+ Yeah, you heard write, you just didn't write right

- Stop folding on me you illiterate bastard

Ha ha

>> What dialog thing are we again?
>> Come on aren't we meant to be editors?
>> Well, authors really, you know
?? So who are the editors
>> Not the band to be clear

+ Thanks

You're welcome

>> Weren't we going to say something about needing editors after all?
>> Yeah, before the rename, but this is more fun

+ bye