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by on April 1, 2014

Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She could’ve said words, and plenty of them. Penny Sybil had been prepared to deliver her opening argument in a landmark system-wide trial about the environmental impact of artificial wormholes. She had spent weeks on that trial. Now the invading Earth fleet in the sky outside the courtroom was issuing some ultimatum she couldn’t quite hear, and it looked like all her preparation had been for naught. She scrambled for shelter under a nearby table, certain that it would prove no shelter at all. Then she glanced back, and gasped.

Her binder lay askew on the floor where she had dropped it. That binder had everything. It had her notes, her deposition transcripts, the telepathic holo-recordings from the Society to Protect Wormhole Aliens! She took one step out from under the table. Her timing was singularly unfortunate. The Seventeenth Earth Fleet chose that moment to open a barrage of turbo-cannon plasma beams.

Penny vaporized. Her neutrons and protons went merrily out into the universe on their own microscopic voyages of discovery. The binder went too, disappearing in a blur of flame and taking lots of evidence with it. The attorneys for the other side would’ve been thrilled to see that, except they were vaporizing too. The Seventeenth Fleet was quite thorough.

In her last seconds of consciousness, Penny didn’t experience the usual thing with her life flashing before her eyes. Her brain fixed on one single memory. She was lightyears away on Verin Prime, resting blissfully in the shade of countless trees. Green light fell all about her. One particular tree, a short distance away, had a wooden cat attached to its side. Penny remembered wondering who had put the cat there, and why they had taken the trouble. She would never find out now. Shame, really. She had hoped-

This story follows on in the same ‘verse as Shades, and Oh, Crime. It’s written for the speakeasy challenge at Yeah Write, which was to write 750 words or less (mine ended up being somewhat less) using “Without a word, she dropped to the ground,” as the first sentence, and include a reference to the photo prompt on their site.Thanks for reading!Β 

  1. Thank you for this beautiful story.

  2. I’m not so sure Penny won’t make it back, though. Your characters have a way of creatively changing their fates πŸ™‚

  3. I love the phrase ‘singularly unfortunate’, because it really says a lot, and plus fits 8 syllables into 2 words which is kind of accomplishment all on its own. So does this mean they don’t have to worry about the wormholes anymore? Well, not that they’re worrying about much of anything anymore…

  4. I can’t decide what I like best about this, but I am definitely concerned about the environmental impact of artificial wormholes. πŸ˜‰ Awesome work with the prompts!

    • I feel I should start a chapter of the S.P.W.A.. Founding member, even. πŸ˜€

  5. Vaporizing Penny took me by surprise and the fact that her vaporization caused merry movement was a nice twist. I like t he conclusion., Cheerio, Jane

  6. Funny little story! I love humorous sci-fi πŸ™‚

  7. So interesting. The people of this time have simultaneous existences? I really like that technology. A very interesting story! I like your ideas.

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