“Pull up, damnit!” yelled Captain Cross as he pulled back on the center stick. The experiment had been a disaster since the beginning and now he was in a deathly tailspin that he was struggling to control. “Eject! Eject!” came through his earpiece, but he barely heard it; Cross was focused on saving this plane. The XRJ-843 had been retrofitted with an experimental reverse ion thruster cannon and although he wasn’t supposed to use it on this run, in desperation he powered it up and punched it to full throttle. Nothing happened. Cross pressed the engine start button repeatedly, but it wasn’t engaging and he’d starting spinning too quickly to eject. As the ground got closer, he desperately clung to consciousness. A crash was imminent as the warning bells filled the cockpit with red lights and loud beeps. Then it all stopped. There was no crash, but the plane and Captain Cross were gone.
It was a little after three in the morning and outside, the night air was still and the world had gone quiet. Inside, a lone man sat at a kitchen island, eating a ham and cheese sandwich; a look of exhaustion on his face. The night had not gone as expected. He knew he couldn’t linger, but he was having a hard time leaving. He took one last swig of milk, cleaned the dishes, and carefully stepped around the body on the kitchen floor, making sure not to leave any footprints in the blood.
Timothy was your typical thirty-something adult. He works a boring desk job, goes out with friends for drinks after work, and struggles to find a partner. But this story isn’t about Timothy. No Timothy is what we call “a carrier”. Who am I, you ask? Well, my name is Enterococcus Faecalis, but you can call me Enzo. I live in Timothy’s stomach. Don’t be grossed out, he needs me! I guess you could call this a love story of sorts. Let’s go back a few weeks so you can understand why we need to talk.
She didn’t mean to come here. It was the one warp that was forbidden by the elders, but they were no longer on her side. She needed to run and this was the only place they might not go. Gabrielle clutched her bag so tightly her knuckles had turned white. She waited next to the jump point, waiting to see if anyone else would come through. Her heart was racing and fear consumed her thoughts. The item she took from the elders was more powerful than she’d imagined, and they weren’t going to stop until they found her. She double checked her jump clock to verify her location, it read, “Earth – 2020: Timeline A-001”.
The galaxies were at war. The last thousand years had been full of progress. Humans began finding their place in the stars, joining the Galactic Association of Tranduaway. Tranduaway was the closest english translation for what the other members called the Milky Way; humans were late to the Association. Hopes of leaving worldly conflicts behind were dashed almost immediately when United Stars of Gorackli declared war on the GAT only fifty years after earth joined. Things were not going well for the greenhorn solar system.
Shauna struggled to pull herself off the forest floor. The air was crisp and the only thing she liked about camping. But she didn’t get out into the wilderness for herself, she went for Tania. Tania had been her partner for fourteen years. She had always been much more of an outdoorsy person than Shauna. But every year, Shauna would put on her warmest clothes and brave the elements in the name of love. The sun was just peaking over the lake when as she stepped out. For a moment, the rising sun played tricks on her eyes and she thought she saw Tania, but she quickly brushed aside the thought because she knew it wasn’t possible. Tania had passed away three years ago.
The forest was no place for the lone traveller. The terrible tales told to children were not just stories intent on keeping them in line. On a quiet night, when the owls and the crickets were silent, the screams of the fallen emanated from the edge of the forest, like whispers, warning those who got too close to stay away. However, one part of these childhood stories could not be ignored by some. There was a reason those lost souls ventured into the forest despite the warnings; a treasure beyond ones imagination.
Life had dealt Prince Jasper a great hand. He had money, fame, great looks, and spent most of his time on vacation. But although he was almost forty years old, Prince Jasper never had a friend. Sure, he had butlers who’d laugh at his jokes and gardeners who’d play tennis with him when he asked, but he was lonely. His wife, Princess Amelia, had grown worried about his disposition and decided it was time for Jasper to find new friends.
A new life was only a few more miles away. The journey had not been easy, but the dream of a safe life in America kept the Dominguez family hopeful. It had been a long three-week journey through Mexico but they were getting close. Roberto forced his family to leave and, although they obeyed the request, they still didn’t really understand why. His family shipping business had refused the “honor” of running drugs for one of Honduras’s most notorious crime families, the Rivera’s. Roberto had watched countless members of their community agree to help the family, only to find them dead in the streets a few weeks later. Roberto couldn’t let that happen. After his visit from the Rivera’s, he went home and told his family to pack up and get on the road. They listened and acted without hesitation; he’d never been so proud of them for their trust. Now, just a few more miles from a dream, Roberto got word about the reality of why they left. Their home, one that had been in the family for one hundred years, had been burned to the ground. Roberto wiped a tear from his eye as he listened to the …
“Why did they send us out here?” Martin questioned, “It’s disgustingly hot. My clothes are now permanently stuck to my body. And I might as well not even be wearing my underwear.” The rest of the crew exchanged glances. None of them were very excited about being there, but only Martin made sure to complain. The four soldiers were walking slowly through the marsh, guns at the ready. A distress beacon had been picked up on the scanners and their crew was ordered to check it out. It had been an hour since they started searching the spot where the signal was coming from but they’d found nothing. “This is ridiculous. Let’s just go.” Nobody bothered to entertain Martin’s complaints with an answer as they continued pressing forward. Captain Andrea’s fist shot up and the team stopped. She’d heard something just ahead and couldn’t have Martin complaining while she figured out what was there. The team reeled to the right, this time they all heard it, but no one had eyes. Then, as if plucked like a flower, Martin was gone.