Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday Flash Fiction - Planet Scavengers

I see a cave made of dust, or maybe ash. I see ancient machines, tall and hollow, now so rotted through that the slightest touch would crumble them. I see the remains of ancient soldiers who stayed in pointless vigil to protect the machines that once protected them, and through it all is dust caked thick on the floor, the walls and everywhere around. This cave is dry and dead, dessicated but not destroyed. A relic of a war-torn age.

I pick my way through the machines, little more than statues now, searching for pieces of value. Everything but the metal has rotted, and most of that has rusted. Here and there, however, I find a few pieces that have escaped decay. A badge, some tags, a long, thin tube with a complicated mechanism at the end. We may be able to melt them down, turn them into something useful. It's only recently that a blacksmith has managed to open up shop in the village, and he needs raw materials like these to work with. We don't have the means to mine it. We have to scavenge.

We are here only because this world is already dead. That's what we do - we are the slum-residents of the galaxy, forced from worn-out world to worn-out world, just able to scrape enough together to escape to another world and start again. Always racing against decay, outrunning the crumbling metaphorical cliff behind us. This world, they tell us, was once called "Erth", which sounds to us like a last, dying breath. Appropriate.

The elders tell us it was war that finished this world. It's usually war. I don't think they even research it any more. And our goal is always the same: survive, build a new ship and move on to the next planet. I keep some pieces for myself, though. I think it's important that somebody, somewhere, remembers the ones who came before us. Some piece of them should survive, the way we survive. They are not our relatives, but they are our ancestors, in a way, and I feel for them, even if they are no longer here.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Not so much plot this week.
PPS - Hope you like it.


bronsta said...

I love it :) again, another masterpiece. Can't wait to read a book of all your short stories :) I reckon this one would make a good 15-20 pg-er :) Bring it ON!!

John said...

Thanks again, Bron. I wonder, once I've been doing this for a year, could I bundle them up and sell them as an ebook on Amazon? I might have to pad some of them out a little, though.