Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WEP - The Road Less Traveled, An Outpost Story

Outpost Station #6 - The Far Reaches


A hermit doesn't seek or enjoy the company of others, unless circumstances require it





This bit of hermit wisdom described the wizened Old Man Noot. Not an ounce of fat on him, with long greying hair streaming from his beard and the top of his head. But when he looked at you, his bright blue eyes revealed a curious mind.

Noot, like many of the others who inhabited the abandoned space station at the edge of the Sirius system, was a space drifter looking for a place to stay off the grid, out of the mainstream and away from nosy authoritarians. He wasn't the first to show up at the station, where he had to sign an agreement before he was allowed a space in the eerie structure. This was a waystation for those who ran out of options, it provided shelter, access to supplies and was run by those who lived there. Working at odd jobs around the station was exchanged for a room and food supplies.

"Noot!" someone called out. The old man turned to see the station master, who was 'in charge'.

"Yes, Odiwa?"

"Got a job for you. It's down on level 15. I need someone to check the anti-grav equipment on that level. Someone reported hearing strange sounds coming from the room there. See if the equipment has been vandalized, or if it's a human problem."

"You think those new people may be filching stuff?"

"Possibly. Take your weapon and your wits, might need them."

"For the usual pay?"

"Depends on how much you have to do."

"All right, I'll do it, but I get to choose my options for the pay."

"Sure. If I don't hear back from you in a few hours, I'll send down a finder."

"Hmmph."

Noot didn't like the finders, all nose and no brains. He scrummaged in his equipment box for his spacesuit, the lightweight one, his tools, and a some extra ammunition. Never hurt to be prepared. He grabbed some emergency supplies and water. He was ready.

As he descended to the 15th floor, he wondered what he'd find this time. Last time he checked for noises he found a large family of rats. Rodents seemed to endure anywhere in an oxygen environment. Noot thought the rats hitchhiked on one of the early starships. 

All was quiet when Noot arrived on the 15th floor, so he let himself into the anti-grav room and cautiously entered. He didn't want to alert anyone or anything. He held his breath as he couldn't see further than 8 inches in front of himself. He activated his helmet light, just before he heard a noise in a far corner of the room. Grunts and mutterings reached his ears.  

Noot crept to within 10 feet of the corner and saw a human figure on a bedroll. He couldn't tell if the human was armed, so he gently told him, "Hello. My name is Noot, and I'm here to help. Identify yourself, please."

"Starship Pilot Mondero, recently on the trade ship Europa. Where am I?"

"You are on Outpost Station #6. We don't get drop-ins, Mondero, or encourage stowaways . How did you get here?"

"I'm a pilot, a starship pilot, who argued with his commanding officer. It didn't go well, so they deserted me here on this station, saying they would send someone to rescue me."

"Are you going to claim refugee status?"

"I don't know."

"What noise were you making? We got a call about the amount of noise in this apartment."

"I wasn't wrecking the equipment, if that's what you mean. . ."

"Never mind what I mean, get up and grab your gear. Have you got your identity docs?"

"Yes." 

***

Noot took Mondero to the station master, and advised him that the prisoner was a pilot of starships, who had some recent misfortunes. . 

"A pilot, eh? We can use a pilot, if you can fly our small starships."

"Let's see 'em."


Odiwa took Mondero deep into the underground storage. "There they are."

Mondero stared, interest showing in his eyes. "Wonderful. The small scale blackbirds of Stealth. Haven't seen those for years."

To be continued. . . 

***


WEP - Write, Edit, Publish, a flash challenge

It's time for another WEP challenge - with the support team of Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim adding their imaginings and creativity. Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for being the hosts! 

The challenge:
Create an artistic entry using the given prompt: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre and the artistic choice are yours!


Be sure to check all the other entrants on the WEP participation list! 

***

Would you want to live in an abandoned space station? What would cause you to have no choice but to live in this structure?


Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by.

***

36 comments:

  1. As a person with decided hermit tendencies of my own I was hooked immediately. And thoroughly enjoyed this flash. I am wondering what payment Noot will choose too. Loved this, and will happily read more. (hint, hint.)

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    1. Thanks, EC, I had to think a lot about this one. A choice we make can change our whole life. We just don't know if it's a good choice til later. . .these people living on this station may have made bad choices or life may have thrown too much at them.

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  2. Hermit tendencies here too. Even so it is wonderful to see you again on the blogs. I thought about you as reposted the Loop story, directed readers to it, I should say. Hope all is well.

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    1. I will be checking that out, Inger. These WEP challenges seem to be one thing I haven't had to put on the back burner. . .thanks for visiting!

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  3. Interesting the ease at which his story was accepted. I'd be a bit more cautious, but it sounds like this lot are all the misfits of space? Love, and I'll definitely be back to learn more. Great entry to the WEP this month, a journey through space is definitely a road less traveled!

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    1. Yes, but Noot is a smart old guy and he can size up a fake with ease. The pilot was just a little too cocky and caused an accident, hence he was unceremoniously dumped, something they can do in the outer reaches where the law is loose.

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  4. I've popped by, D.G. Will be back to finish. Got called away.

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  5. Oh, a cliffhanger. I hate cliffhangers. I want to know what happened next. Great snippet, and a fascinating idea. An abandoned space station, huh? I want to write about one too.

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    1. It is an intriguing setting. Out on the edges where laws are only guidelines, like the old West.

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  6. Noot is an interesting character. I was apprehensive for him going down to check out the disturbance on his own. I am glad it turned out to be ok in that he wasn't attacked by anyone. Interesting setting too.

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    1. Noot was the first thing I thought about when writing this.

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  7. An interesting take on the theme. Yet on question remains on my mind, was the pilot causing the noise, or hiding from the true cause?

    from:christopherscottauthor.wordpress.com

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    1. He may have been trying to hack in to the system to find out where he was. . .notice he didn't say what caused the noise. Noot will find out.

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  8. Hi, D. G.

    I like this beginning. Great Character, Noot... Would definitely be interested in finding out more about the star pilot and where he was going next.

    Interesting world you created, too! I'm usually not a big SCI FI fan, but I like this. WELL DONE!

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    1. Glad you liked it, Michael, and when this is continued there will be more about the pilot.

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  9. What a fun read, definitely left me wanting more!

    Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
    A to Z Flash Fiction Stories | A to Z of Goldendoodles

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    1. I do plan to write more. I may look for the right prompt.

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  10. Hi DG,

    This felt so topical! - the hermit wisdom, the refugee status, the heartsong of all misfits :) A little surprising how quickly he's accepted and how willing they are to trust the newcomer with their equipment. They might want to verify his creds thoroughly. Definitely want to know more!

    As always, your writing is stellar and space journeys are the ultimate in less travelled routes. Brilliant take on the prompt.

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    1. I wanted to write about a place where those who shun society or are shunned could live and make their own life.

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  11. Interesting. Good sci-fi. Lots of intrigue. Nice work.

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    1. Thanks, I like intrigue and I like abandoned places. (old barns or houses, space stations, etc)

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  12. I like well-written Sci-Fi that engages my mind. I wonder what is going to happen next in this story. Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. I like to write about the people in scifi stories and what dilemmas they face. I like creating the worlds, too.

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  13. A pilot now abandon
    An old man on the Run
    Rats that need killing
    He’s have too much fun

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    1. Hopefully the pilot doesn't need killing too.

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  14. Hi DG - two paths or more here ... certainly a road less travelled. I enjoyed it ... and want to know more - about Noot and about this new guy ... the whole station could be upgraded with these two - after a few more stories please! Cheers Hilary

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    1. The road to the outer reaches is usually avoided, due to all the horror stories. It is only travelled by a few. I do have a few stories in mind.

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  15. I'm with Yolanda - I wondered about the pilot's story ... was Noot concerned or did he just figure that he'd done his job and the rest would play out?
    Excellent job with Noot!

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    1. Noot doesn't do things halfway. He plays the doddering old man sometimes, but he's sharp behind all that shaggy hair. He avoids conflict when possible.

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  16. Hi D.G. I'm back and just reread your story. You say in a comment that you wanted to write about a place where those who shun society or are shunned could live and make their own life. And you're building this world well. But when Noot is asking questions about the noise the new pilot was making, he never got an answer. That's something to remember to answer. Perhaps you have it in mind for further on in the story.

    Great setting. Great ideas.

    I'm glad you write for WEP and that it helps. I do hope you are well.

    Denise x

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    1. Yes, I do remember that Noot didn't get an answer, as he knew the Station manager would ask more questions. Thanks for the kind words and concern. We're hanging in there. WEP is a challenge I enjoy and as it's flash fiction, I can fit it into my busy day. I am so glad you opened up this challenge to various genres and forms. It appeals to me because of that.

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  17. Someone would have to strand me there to to get me to live there. A pilot when they needed one, hmm, suspicious?

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    1. Suspicious or just timely? There are a few questions to be answered by the pilot, although many who live here don't want their background known.

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  18. Hmmm....I wonder what happens now. Noot is an interesting character. With sci-fi like this, I may just get hooked. Well done, D. G.

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    1. Thanks Jo-ke Ojo, I appreciate your kind words. I do plan to write more outpost stories. . . and finish this one.

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