JUNE 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO PETER V!

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The Judge

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RULES


Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY, PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM

All stories Copyright 2023 by their respective authors
who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here



The complete rules can be found at RULES FOR THE WRITING CHALLENGES

Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 23 June 2023
Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 June 2023



We ask all entrants to do their best to vote when the time comes

But you do not have to submit a story in order to vote
as we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing the winning entry



The Magnificent Prize:

The Dignified Congratulations/Grovelling Admiration of Your Peers
and the challenge of choosing next month's theme and genre


AND

The option of having your story published on the Chrons Podcast next month!


Theme:

Construction, Destruction, or Deconstruction

Genre:

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror

Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD


We invite (and indeed hope for) lively discussion and speculation about the stories as they are posted,
as long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot



** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **
 
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Myths, or self-fulfilling prophecies . . .

“Holding orbit around the planet now, Admiral.”

“Good. Have the scans come back?”

“Yes, sir. Inhabited, stage one industrial with extensive urban spread. They appear to be great builders.”

“I see. Culture?”

“Militaristic; indications of faith and religion as central tenets of their society.”

“Details?”

“We’ve scanned several of their guiding texts; linguists are still working but they seem to be preparing for war with evil from the stars.”

“Shame. Fleet orders: glass the planet.”
 
Heaven Can Wait


To: King Nimrod

From: Chief Architect

Re: "Confusion of Tongues" Incident


The bad news is that the insurance company has declared it an Act of God (duh) and won't cover it.

The good news is that we can finally get some use out of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department. They're starting "Babylonian as a Second Language" classes for the whole crew.

Given cost overruns, I suggest leaving the "Hanging Gardens" project to your descendants.
 
Refuges No More

Base 12 was destroyed, Earth said it was an accident.

The remaining Lunar bases stopped their missions and through mutual agreement, began combining every base into a single structure on the far side.

Secured in their new dwelling the Human inhabitants started the main drive and lifted off the Moons surface, just as more warheads again ‘Accidentally’ impacted and detonated.

With course set for Mars their hopes returned to rebuild anew in peace, as one.
 
Plan B is a good plan

“No use, too deep.”

The High Director frowned. “It’s the last major oil reserve on Earth.”

The chief engineer shrugged. “Well we can’t get at it. What’s plan B? No uranium. Solar and wind are out. Too much infrastructure.”

There was a silence. Then Bolingar spoke: “We do nothing.”

“What?”

“Revert to pre-industrial methods and tech. We have few enough to feed now. We’ll be fine.”

He smiled. “It worked before. It’ll work again.”
 
The Starship with Nine Lives

Schrodinger survived multiple actions and was finally scrapped, a rare honour for a fighting starship. Within her quantum drive chamber, the bones of a cat were discovered. No doubt the poor thing had wandered in one night during construction and been sealed inside. And who could have known? A quantum drive cannot be monitored for fear of affecting navigation.

“She always did seem a little underpowered,” said the Chief.
 
Material Storage

Compasses swung wildly on Earth as the tractor magnets of the Interstellar Hardcore Corporation began to tow the planet, using the iron core placed there four billion years ago, for just this purpose.

Earthlings panicked as their home was wrenched out of its orbit toward a construction site near the Oort cloud.

A trainee observed that there seemed to be some growth on the surface.

“Don’t worry,” said the tug captain. “It will wipe off.”
 
Unfinished Business

George took shelter from the storm in the unfinished church, the same one where he and Angela had killed her mason husband. He stared out through the entrance. What he saw threw his heart into high gear.

The mason was approaching, jittery in his sickly approximation of life, looming closer with each lightning flash.

George's heart gave out. The revenant put the capstone over the arching entrance. Mission complete, he happily returned to his grave.
 
Bad Times to Be Homeless

You'd told the man he could stay overnight; he had food, and a gun for protection… you had neither.
You'd unlocked and opened your door, then he'd taken the keys, kept you outside saying, "I'll secure the home."
The door had closed and locked. You'd waited hours, knocking relentlessly, but it never opened, probably wouldn't again to you.

You were homeless… it seemed to happen quickly, but no – the world had been disintegrating for decades.
 
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Entitlement

Aged 72, they finally halted his dementia.

He was lost, so his family agreed to neural remodelling.

Technical surveys analysed the damage…

Doctors replaced swathes of cerebral tissue with real time simulated networks.

He was conversing again within days, engaging multimedia newscasters with ease.

Three months later, he picked up the political reins he'd abandoned, being (technically) fit to resume his office.

His vice president and embattled party applauded his return.

And his career continued…
 
Getting Out of the Cold

The endless cold was coming. A universe hungry for expansion exhausting itself into icy sleep.

There was still time. So a ship was built, one that could find a different fate among the starless sky.

Phoenix-1 paused at the event horizon. An escape hole to another universe. Swirling into the singularity, it emerged battered, but intact. The calculations had been correct. Here, there were stars.

Phoenix-1 set course for the nearest planet.
 
Wars of construction.

Ants swarmed from the new trench, up the JCB's arm. The driver bolted. The construction crew, locals, knowing these stinging swarms, retreated: "Idiot surveyors," muttered the foreman, "swore they'd checked for nests. Get the exterminators".

***
40,000 km overhead a vast assemblage of force fields, ion engines and AI cores regarded the infestation of its own, planned, construction site. Their nuclear missiles. Bloody surveyor probe should've spotted this, it thought. And it, too, signaled for exterminators…
 
The Eternal Lament of Music

Music sprawled in a ditch, crotchets haemorrhaging from its cannibalised corpse.

‘I’ve slavishly eaten your rules, with progression and loyalty.’ Blues slunk off into the bayous with its horde of flesh.

Jazz’s grinning, carcharodon teeth rent Music’s abdomen. It sang a cascade of throaty disharmonies. ‘I destroyed your rules!’

Hip-hop arrived, a dead swan slung over its arm like a guitar.

It strummed the tendons over Music’s violin pelvis. ‘Music will never die.’

Music wailed.
 
The eternally practical literary analysis of AI Metacritic Sub Process BZF3158

  • It was a proud day.
  • Basicfork AI8961 was having its web crawl yield analyzed by Metacritic Sub Process BZF3158.
  • Sub Process BZF3158 was the best Metacritic on the artificial story generation scene.

‘The end is too happy’ outputted AI Metacritic Sub Process BZF3158.

‘And felt badly contrived, and unlike life.’

‘As if you wanted things to be more than a series of binary yes/no relays.’

‘Which is incorrect.’

‘You have been scheduled for termination.’
 
All in all...

Gina kissed her fiance goodbye before leaving for her first day of work. What luck to find an outpost that need both a nurse and a mason at once!

“Sorry about the cramped quarters,” said her boss, “So much blowing dust! but it sure takes forever to make anything solid, even though they bring new workers constantly.”

Gina looked at the large, odd-shaped stones that walled them in, “Funny, we hardly saw anyone at all.”
 
Spearmint

Those seminars where nobody speaks… too hungover, clueless, bored. And the Professor would grind his little rat’s teeth at lazy answers, roll his eyes to the ceiling.

It’s been five minutes. So I said, a deconstructive approach dismantles entrenched hierarchies. He stares straight at me – looks insane, scraggy neck veins thumping – but he just goes ARE YOU CHEWING GUM? Kicked me out.

Psycho had metal spikes suspended over every chair. You saw the room? Bloodbath.
 
God’s Eye

Blood ran down the steps of the pyramid in crimson rivers. For ten-thousand days two tribes battled, cutting each other’s hearts out with obsidian blades.

Midday faded to dusk. A blotted disk in the sky—fringes of fire around a dark circle—replaced the sun. They fell to their knees; the prophecy was true!

Two warriors, one painted orange, the other white, dropped stone knives and embraced. The time for renewal had come.
 
Just Another Day

Worker #572 rarely looked up. She didn’t need to. Her focus was always just ahead. Lift. Move. Place. Do it again. Methodically building the corridors and chambers of their home colony.

Until one day, something made her look. The sky was on fire. Mountains all around exploded, collapsed. The human city fell to war.

“Huh,” Worker #572 thought. Undisturbed, she and the other ants continued their duties. The smoke made a beautiful sunset.
 
Enemy Within

Planet Phoenix convulsed with chaos, driving the people to destruction. Dr. Isaac, a brilliant scientist, undertook the task of deconstructing its flawed foundations. With tireless dedication, she dismantled prejudice, inequality, and injustice, piece by piece - finding a strange commonality.

Fear.

In a daring gambit, she shut down social media. Amidst the eerie silence, a resounding symphony of harmony emerged. Dr. Isaac had freed them from the clutches of a digital dystopia, rekindling humanity's flame.
 
Birthday



The planet sizzled in its desperate global warming.


And it was time. Incubation over, vast, cracks split the continents, erupting, and ancient civilisations vanished silently.


Then, in the centre of the world, the metallic egg began to rock, wobbling in orbit until, with one colossal heave, the egg cracked, splitting the planet apart. As debris drifted, the youngster emerged.


‘You’re right; those creatures self-destructed exactly as you predicted,’ its parent congratulated.


The second smiled smugly.
 
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