Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: The Transport

Chuck Wendig, of Terribleminds, has yet another Flash Fiction Challenge at his blog: A Game of Aspects 2: Aspect Harder.  Electric Boogaloo.  The Aspecting.  ...yeah...

Anyway, I used a random number generator to choose a genre, a setting, and an element to include.  My results:

Genre: Space Opera

Setting: In a vehicle travelling down the highway.

An element to include: Weapons of Mass Destruction.

This is the result, at 998 words.

The Transport

Photo via Terry Whalebone

The hovertruck rocketed along Interstellar Highway Y, careening wildly around slower moving traffic.  Veronica Quillian closed her eyes and took several calming breaths, trying desperately to get her heart rate down.  Her physician said that her blood pressure was too high and that she should consider cutting stress from her life where possible.  As the truck darted wildly again, Veronica glanced back at the Class V Atom Destabilizer Torpedo.  Not exactly what the doctor meant.

Her travelling companion wasn’t helping either.  Nate Grather, a new recruit, was apparently a bit of a nervous talker.  For the past hour, he had been going on about politicians controversial positions on tax rates in the outer Earthling Territories.

“And some say that because they’re only territories, they should be forced to pay an even higher tax rate for the privilege of voting on policies.  And don’t get me started on what the Secretary of Affairs said about the Counselor.  Mocking the man’s religion seems foolish.  He can choke people with his mind!!”

Veronica rolled her eyes and peeked out the window, scanning the skies.

“No sign of any government vehicles so far,” she said, cutting Nate off.  "I’m a little worried, though. Stealing this warhead seemed entirely too easy. I think they might be following us back to base or something.”

Nate shook his head and gave her a big smile.  “You worry too much.  No way the government would have just let us slip away--not with something as dangerous as this thing,” he said.

Veronica sighed and tried to relax.  “You may be right.”  She stuck her finger out, stopping Nate as he opened his mouth to speak.  “Uh-uh!  Not another word about the Secretary or the Counselor or any of their little spats, okay?  Seriously.  I’m pretty much over politics after this.”

Nate’s mouth set into a firm line as he flopped back against the wall, mumbling to himself.

The truck swerved again, practically sending Veronica tumbling out of her seat.  She pounded on the trailer wall with her fist.

“Nice driving, fuckwad.  You wanna watch it before you blow us all to moon?”

The truck swerved again this time jerking to a stop.  Veronica started to get to her feet when the back of the truck flew open, revealing four men in black uniforms.  Massive plasma rifles fixed on her and Nate.

No, not Nate.  Just her.


“Disappointing, right?” he said as he joined the group.  “You gotta pick a team.  I picked the winners.

Just then, the group parted to reveal the Counselor, who smirked as he said, “This has been a long time coming.  Catching the daughter of the rebellion’s leader is going to help us bring the rebellion to its knees.”

Veronica glared at him, then asked, “If all of this was just to kidnap me, why did you let us capture such a dangerous weapon.”

The Counselor laughed, the sound of boulders crashing down a mountainside.

“An Atom Destabilizer?  Really?  You do realize that activating such a device would result in a chain reaction that would pull the entire universe apart, right?”

He kicked the crate for emphasis, sending the contents inside rattling and clattering around.  One of the troops came forward, grabbed her, cuffed her wrists together, and shoved her out of the truck.

They were stopped at an abandoned engine core recharge station.  Trash from recent drug deals lay scattered around the station.  Veronica felt her skin crawl and imagined the diseases this place must carry as Nate drove her to her knees and produced a small recorder from inside his uniform.

“Smile nice for the camera.  We’re gonna make a movie for your dad.”

She noticed an old, rusty laser pistol behind a discarded engine core.  She wondered if it had any charges left, if it had been left behind because the previous owner was deceased.

The light on the front of the camera blinked twice and then held steady.

“We’re rolling,” the Counselor said.  Nate giggled.

Veronica leaped to her feet and began sobbing.  She rushed at the Counselor.

“Please!  Please let me go!  My dad will give you anything!”

The Counselor shoved her away from him, in the direction of the pistol.  When she landed, she snatched up the blaster and, firing blindly behind her back, took out three of the armed men.  She was rather impressed with herself, but her self satisfaction didn't last long as the gun choked and ceased firing.

“You have made a grave mistake, you stupid girl,” the Counselor growled.

Nate drew his gun and fired at Veronica, but she was already up and moving.  She dodged the blast and threw herself at Nate, slamming her head into his stomach.  He let out a rush of air with a cartoonish “Ooof!”  Then he collapsed, letting his gun drop.  Veronica flopped onto Nate’s stomach again, grabbed a knife from his belt, and cut her wrists free.  Then she grabbed Nate’s gun.

The Counselor put his hands in the air and gestured for his remaining soldier to do the same.

“You’re not going to shoot me, are you?  That’s treason.  Your DNA is all over this place.  They’ll have checkpoints set up every kilometer from here to the end of the universe.”

“Meh.  What’s one more act of treason, right?”  Then she fired.  The Counselor and soldier collapsed, smoking holes gaped from their foreheads.

She turned and headed back to the truck, but stopped and knelt beside Nate first.

“I’m not going to kill you.  I want you to take a message back to the Secretary of Affairs.  You tell him that neither my father nor I are ones to be trifled with.”

She grabbed his knife again and raked it across his cheek.  Nate let out a screech and whirled away clutching his face.

“That’s so you don’t forget.  Spread the word.”

With that, she climbed into the hovertruck and drove off, leaving Nate a blubbering, sobbing mess on the side of the road.