Photon – FOWC Prompt response

Just some random waffly bits in response to a prompt

In response to Fandango’s FOWC prompt “Quandary

If you had a telescope, a particularly powerful telescope, and you knew exactly where to look, and you were somewhat lucky and wholly tenacious, and you pointed it in the direction of the Horse Head nebula at just the right time on just the right day then, without doubt, you would still have absolutely no chance of seeing the SS Quandary.

And if you could not see the Quandary, you could most certainly not see her Captain as he stood proudly on her deck, legs akimbo and hands on his narrow hips. The Quandary shuddered and lurched, the auto-grav screaming against the deafening cacophony of sirens. Yet, resolute, he stared out from the bridge, watching as enemy fighters ripped gold and crimson slashes in the vast blackness of space.

He followed a photon torpedo as it tracked through the darkness in front of him, fast in pursuit of one of his combat drones.

“Funny old word ‘Photon,’ he said to himself, tightening the thick black belt around his waist and straightening his crisp white uniform trousers before pulling his jacket tight by the lapels.

“Photon, pho…ton, photon, photon, phooooo ton,” he said to no one in particular, the word bubbling around inside his mouth. He beckoned to a young ensign who was sat at a console to his right, punching away at something that was almost certainly futile and would not make one jot of difference when it came to their impending doom.

“Yes Captain Myers?” said the ensign, looking up from his screen, the pale light of the monitor splashed across his pallid skin.

“Photon, ” said the Captain, “funny old word isn’t it.”

The ensign shifted uncomfortably. It was obviously not a rhetorical question, and given the captain’s tone he assumed the answer was in the affirmative.

“Er, yes, yes it is,” the ensign replied, one eye on the captain, the other on his screen. It was mostly a sea of red and red was never a colour you wanted to see on anything when you were being attacked by an armada of ships that seemed intent on your destruction.

The captain chuckled to himself, silently mouthing the word over and over as he walked slowly forwards towards the vast window that stretched one side of the deck to the other.

The ensign settled back into his seat and returned to his screen. What little colour there was in his face drained as he watched a rather large something beep slowly as it tracked across his screen.

“Sir, ” he said nervously, “Sir, there is something you need to see.”

“Really?” replied Myers slowly as he watched fighter after fighter evaporate into a million glistening shards before his eyes. “Are you sure? It’s just that…”

“Yes sir,” interrupted the ensign. “you need to see it now sir, it is….”

“Oh, no need,” said Myers as he stiffened to attention, his eyes fixed on the thing that was winding it’s way through the drifting mass of debris towards them.

He half turned towards where the ensign sat, the ship shuddering once more and huge geysers of steam bursting from the floor as the lights flickered and dimmed.

“See, look there he said,” pointing out towards where the thing screamed towards them. “Photon…”


I’m going to keep doing these as the mood takes me and they’re kind of snippets or starts or ideas and mostly just done to see how they feel when I press ‘publish’.  I think one will stick then I will carry on with it.

Avalon sat on the old porch swing kicking her legs playfully and singing to her favourite doll.   The night air fell cool on her skin and as the swing creaked in time with the song of the crickets she watched the sun set slowly behind the mountains.

“Bed soon Avalon” shouted her mother from inside.  “We have a long trip tomorrow and need to be on the road to Picayune before seven.”

“Yes mom” said Avalon as the last rays of light sank below the towering peaks and the feint ribbon of fire on the horizon gave way to darkness.  “Can I have just five minutes more, I want to watch the stars with Ophelia?”

“Okay sure” her mother replied over the clink of the dinner dishes “but no longer.  I don’t want you to be tired when we see grandma.”

Avalon squeezed her doll tight and pointed out across the dark fields into the moonless sky, the silhouette of the barns and water tower now barely visible as night fell.  “Ophelia, that’s Sirius, the brightest star in the sky” she said knowledgably.

The family farm was huge, and with barely a light to be seen for miles the milky way blazed a trail across the night sky.  Avalon loved nothing more than to sit out, and though she was only nine already knew most of the major constellations by sight.  

“Look there” Avalon said excitedly pointing to the west just above the tops of the mountains.  A meteor blazed and then fizzled to nothing in the atmosphere.  “There will be more if mother let’s us stay up.”

She kicked her legs and pushed off on the swing, the squeaking quickening.  Another meteor burnt up on the horizon and her mother called again.

“Come on now you two, time to come and get ready for bed”  she said popping her head around the screen door.  Avalon considered asking to stay up later but the look on her mother’s face already told her it wasn’t going to happen.

“Yes Mom, coming” she said hopping down,  and with Ophelia hanging by the arm she skipped across the porch singing quietly under her breath.  On the other side of the door she could see her mother wiping dishes in the kitchen, but before she could get inside there was a flash of light as bright as day and a loud bang filled the air.

Avalon instinctively fell to the floor clasping Ophelia tight and tried to cover her ears to block out the noise.  She heard her mother shouting from inside the house and hurried footsteps on the wooden floors but everything was shaking, and unable to move she stayed curled up in a ball in front of the door.

“Honey, move, I can’t open the door” she heard her mother shout over the sound of breaking glass.   Heart pounding she peered through her fingers as the bang was replaced with a roar that sounded like a thousand waterfalls crashing down together and a bright green light lit up the yard in front of the house.

Her mother screamed and Avalon felt the door dig into her side as her mother forced it open.  “Avalon, come on” her mother shouted lifting her from the floor and into her arms.

“Wait, Ophelia…” she said panicked reaching for the doll that had fallen from her grasp, but her mother was already running across the porch with her.

“No, there’s no time” she said as she took the steps two at a time and stumbled out onto the wide grassed area in front of the house “we need to get to the car now.”

The car was at the other side of the house, and she regained her feet she set off across the lawn.  The noise grew louder with every step and the light began to pulse and flicker obscuring everything and making it difficult to make out the way.  She felt her mother’s hand pull her head tight to her chest as a violent wind whipped up dust all around them until there was no way they could see which way was forward.

“Take my hand” she shouted putting her down on the ground.

The wind rocked her and unable to see anything but the dust and bright green light she fell to the floor.  “Mom I’m scared” she cried as her mother reached out a hand to try and locate the house to get her bearings.  

“This way” she shouted and dragged her by the hand through the swirling dust and wind.  Avalon covered her eyes as they ran and there was a familiar crunch of the gravelled drive underfoot and as she stumbled again she felt the cold metal of the truck against her shoulder.  “Quick, get in” he mother said and there was a click-thunk as her mother forced the truck door open against the wind as it grew in intensity.

Avalon scrambled into the footwell and turned to watch her mother clamber in but as she reached inside there was a roar as the wind pulled her from the vehicle and screaming she was thrown beyond Avalon’s view and the vehicle door slammed closed.

“Mom” she screamed as she pulled the handle and pushed against the door –  but the wind was now too fierce and it slammed back each time she attempted to open it.  She pressed her hands against the glass and stared out into the night desperate to see the shape of her mother heading back to her, but there was only the bright green light and the swirling dust carried on the wind that buffeted the truck.

Staring out into the night she waited, tears cutting through the dust that covered her from head to toe.  She brushed her hair from her face as the roar of the wind grew louder and louder and the light brighter until quite suddenly, without warning,  it stopped.  Darkness returned and as the dust slowly began to settle she saw a shape walking towards her through.

“Mom” she shouted pulling at the door handle and pushing against it with everything she had.  This time it gave way and she scrambled down, the gravel crunching beneath her feet.  “Mom, mom over here” she continued and ran arms flung wide as her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness.

“Hello Avalon” came an unfamiliar voice and she stopped in her tracks.  It was deep and rasping and as the dust cleared, her heart racing, she stared at the shadow as it emerged from the settling dust.  It was like nothing she had ever seen, taller than any adult – dressed all in grey – and skin grey like that of a shark.  It was vaguely human in appearance with large eyes set wide in a broad head.   There was no nose, only small nostrils and a wide lipless mouth stretched across the face.

Avalon tried to scream, tried to run, but her legs would not move and nothing came out when she opened her mouth.

“Come now” the creature said scooping her up in his arms, “there are people waiting to see you.”




#FOWC – Inertia

Fandango has kindly provided the prompt: “Inertia”.

Going to try do these in 500 words or less I think and use them to try a few new ideas and see if anything sticks.  A bit like the room 101 stuff  – they may be starts, or ends or middles.  We shall see.


Gill clled to McCabe as he stood staring out into the inky blackness of space.  “Captain, sub light inertia drives have gone off line due to a massive solar burst.  Switching to impulse.  We will breach real time barrier in 60 seconds.”

The deck shook as McCabe walked over to his chair and buckled in.  After 6 years they were so close to being home, this was the last thing they needed.  He punched the comms button on the arm of his chair and a siren blared out across the ship.

“All crew brace for real time barrier breach in 30 seconds.”  He looked back at Gill.  “Bring us out gently son.”

The Aspidistra lurched as she slowed, every atom of the ship and those within her stretched across the immeasurable expanses between the stars that powered the ship.  McCabe held his hand up to his face and watched it dissolve into a million stars before his eyes and then reform as they smashed through into real time.

“System status ” he barked, the massive ship still shaking.

Jennan the second office scanned the battery of screens before him.  “All systems online Sir, real time confirmed – Sol cycle 2245.”

“Gill, location please.”

McCabe waited before asking again.

“Gill, please confirm location.”

Gill turned slowly.  “Captain – we’re about three weeks out from Earth on impulse drives sir, just short of Mars orbit.”

The look on his face told him there was more.  He unbuckled his belt and strode over to where Gill sat behind a bank of screens.

“Spit it out lad what is it.” He said trying to interpret the data flooding across the displays in front of him.”

Gill knew that if not for McCabe none of them would be here, they all knew that.  The war with the Va-a had taken it’s toll but he’d promised to bring them home and he was a man of his word.

“I’m sorry sir” he said “but were too late.  She’s already gone.”