A Request – A Short Story

Fun fact: I write quite a bit of fiction. I haven’t published anything, but I have some stories I really like and are cleaned up nicely. So, here is one of those stories. It’s called “A Request” and it’s really one of my first true attempt at a science fiction story.

Let me know what you think!

Incoming Transmission from Colony AX99405:

Request for transport, and immediate abandonment of Colony AX99405. I am Unit 3324485, Head of the Colony Board, submitting said request. I am the last active unit in this once colony. If Homeworld protocols are not executed in a quick and efficient manner, there may be no units left when the transport arrives. The colony has been invaded by a Menace, and it has deactivated all other units, and infested all dwellings, public areas, and buildings. My only defense to keep the Menace from deactivating me is to never rest my systems. I am unable to recharge, for that is when the Menace is able to take advantage of our kinds’ weakness. I have detailed my findings at the end of this report, in case transport arrives and I am no longer active.

I will begin my report with the beginning of the colony. Colony AX99405 met all of the protocols for colonization, and the colony was subsequently established effectively and sufficiently. All public spaces and buildings were of Homeworld approved designs and quality. Dwellings for colonizing units were also of the approved measures and standards. I resided in one such dwelling and can testify that the Homeworld materials imported achieved the desired result. My dwelling in the colony has been  indistinguishable from the dwelling I resided in on the Homeworld. The concrete mixture is the same, the room size is the same, even the taps for my sink and handles for my doors are the same as on the Homeworld. My occupation as Head of Colony Board, while different from my occupation on the Homeworld, was equally satisfactory. At first very little got in my way of accomplishing each of my tasks in my occupation. I observed similar rates of task completion, efficient work effort, and satisfaction with the Homeworld protocols of work quality – per my occupational requirements as Head of Colony Board. This was, however, before the Menace overran the colony. 

The Menace first manifested three moon cycles ago. Three moon cycles and five days previous from this day, according to the Homeworld time keeper, is when the first of the Menace appeared. Every unit that has come into contact with them has been compromised, except one. I am the one uncompromised unit.

When the Menace began, it was rather benign. The first exposure was an elderly unit who discovered the Menace, an anomaly near their dwelling on the outskirts of the colony, and reported it. A sanitation core was dispatched and the anomaly was annihilated, per Homeworld protocol.

There were no more reported sightings for the next five days. The Sanitation General declared to me that this was odd. According to his logic, a Menace like this one was never singular. If there was one there must be more.

His logic was proven correct.

On the seventh day, the dwelling belonging to a pair of units was found to be infested with the Menace. The units were declared compromised, their deterioration was evident by the slightest observation. The pair were taken from their home, dragged like wild beasts, thrashing as if possessed, and screaming profanities not heard in public for decades. The dwelling was disintegrated, per Homeworld protocol.

The neighboring units beheld this disturbance and were greatly troubled. Many of the feminine units wept, as well as many of the infantine. A colony-wide communication was dispatched, and the public was made aware of the Menace in their midst. Vigilance was encouraged, and made law the next day.

The Sanitation General told me after this incident that he was concerned his Feelings were superseding his logic. I elected in that hour to have the entire sanitation division monitored – their exposure rate being the greatest in the colony, and the General’s confession of Feelings infecting him greatly concerned me.

The first moon cycle passed with efficient disposing of the Menace, whenever sightings were reported. The vigilance of most of the public gave the appearance that the Menace could be defeated. The outbreaks reported at this time were in public places and were dealt with swiftly and completely. 

It was during the second moon cycle that we discovered the Dissenters. They were caring for the Menace. Watering them, and fitting their residences for light beneficial to the Menace. All to their own detriment. Entire streets were found to be infested. These units chose to affix the Menace on and inside their frames. The Menace thrived, sprouting, growing lengths, and even blooming. The Sanitation General had no solution for this new problem, stating this was a medical issue now. I enacted quarantine protocols. The infected streets were closed down. The contaminated units therein were sealed up within their dwellings. Walls were erected to keep the Menace sequestered. All this was done per Homeworld protocols for infestations, the Sanitation General’s advice, and my own logic.

It was during the third moon cycle that I discovered that the Sanitation General was compromised. The General’s dwelling, and very frame was found to be entirely infested. I personally oversaw the decommissioning, and the inactive casing taken away to be scrapped. This was all done meticulously because of his position, and his dishonorable fall. There is now a public refusal to speak of the General, per Homeworld protocol.

Fourteen days ago, the Quiet happened. I exited my dwelling, as I usually did in the morning and greeted my neighbor. When I turned to engage in my usual process of waving my arm – in the acceptable greeting – my neighbor was not there. Ever since my arrival in this dwelling, and my subsequent development of the habit of departing at a certain time, my neighbor has always been there for me to greet. For the first time in my existence, Feelings crept over me – and fear came with the Feelings. I leaned over and regurgitated my morning meal. 

“Neighbor!” I called in a voice louder than my usual talking voice. “Neighbor, where are you? Why do you not greet me?”

There was no answer, only the Quiet. 

I proceeded towards the cement brick wall that divides the outdoor space of my dwelling from the outdoor space of my neighbor’s dwelling. The pristine white of the cement, and the gleam of the aluminum cap around the top of the wall assisted in smothering the Feelings. I leaned over the waist high wall, but I did not see my neighbor.

I called out again, “Neighbor! Where are you?” But the Quiet persisted.

I looked intently at my neighbor’s dwelling. I could see no change to it from the previous day, when I had only more casually observed its appearance. It was this new, intense observation which allowed me to see the obvious. The Menace had reached my own neighbor’s dwelling. Out of the top window of my neighbor’s dwelling bobbed a flower – I did not know the name of it at the time, but discovered the terminology for the Menace afterward. 

Then, Feelings came to me for the second time in my life. I did not regurgitate this time. I emitted an unintelligible sound at my loudest volume. A scream, I believe it is called. I wished to destroy that bobbing flower, I proceeded over the wall that divided my dwelling from my neighbor’s – I had no thought of contamination or exposure to the Menace – my mind thought only of the destruction of the Menace. I came to my neighbor’s door, and did not knock, but burst through it, and there on the floor of the dwelling, was my neighbor, inactive, covered in the infestation. The Menace was growing out of the visual receivers and the audio speaker of my neighbor’s framework. It was like my neighbor had become one with the Menace.

I did an illogical thing then. I stomped upon the Menace growing out of my neighbor. The Feelings were so strong inside of my frame. The Feelings corrupted my mental processing. I acted without logic, but with my Feelings, something only one moon cycle ago I did not think was possible for our kind. The Feelings have never left me from that day to now, nor has the fear.

I disintegrated my neighbor’s dwelling. Then, I sealed myself inside my own dwelling. I had then remembered the possibility of contamination. I had touched the Menace. I could be infested already without being cognizant of that reality. I sealed myself up. 

The Feelings became oppressive in my isolation, but logic and resolve continued as well. A question came to me in my isolation: how can the Menace move so quickly? From one day to the next a complete change had come over my neighbor. From my dwelling, I investigated. My first place to look was the time keepers. They were accurate. Then, I reasoned that perhaps my idea about length is incorrect. I proceeded to calculate figures about time and space, focusing on the difference in time between the Homeworld time keeper and the progress of time on this colony.

I have discovered something important. The time keeper on the Homeworld is insufficient for this colony – a blasphemy. This is, therefore, a corrupt colony, for it cannot abide by the Homeworld’s protocols. The infestation, the Menace were able to take over because the length of days on this colony do not align with the length of days on the Homeworld. According to my calculations, one day on this colony is over five years on the Homeworld. A unit resting its system was in danger of being destroyed by the Menace without our knowledge. The Menace took advantage of our ignorance – a second blasphemy.

Knowledge of the discrepancy between time on the Homeworld and time on the colony must be brought before the Governing Coders, perhaps even the Administrator herself. This colony is corrupt, we should never have come here. It is incompatible, insufficient, and incongruous with our kind, per Homeworld protocols.

I request removal from this colony, immediately.

End Transmission.

Soli Deo Gloria (Yes, even a bit a fiction writing is for God’s glory)