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Flash Fun

 

 

Flash Fun

Copyright 2016 Meghashri Dalvi

Published by Meghashri Dalvi at Shakespir

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

The Project

They Call

Sound Idea

Helping Out

The Record Holder

The Letter

About the Author

The Project

“Show me your project –” She pulled at him strongly.

He nervously showed it to his big sister.

“Yikes! What is this? Just a few wisps! Is that all you have got?” She smirked.

“I am still learning –” He protested.

“So? That doesn’t mean you do things so slowly. You want to see what I have done?”

He just nodded.

She took him to her room. A giant blob sat on her desk.

“See now–” She let him peep inside.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. The dark inside had an array of bright stars. They were surrounded by hundreds of assorted planets. A few asteroids and comets treacherously zigzagged in the crowded space.

“See – I have modeled these astral bodies a long time back. I am now on my next level – fully modeling a planet! Already! Here – I call it Earth. Cool name, isn’t it? I have even kept humans on Earth, and they are developing fast. Look, they are mining here, and on this side they have their factories, and at this end – they are extracting oil from the sea –”

The little one could barely understand the details. But he knew instantly that the big sister was way ahead of him. Playing mischief was not an option then.

While she was busy bragging, he managed to tweak a few controls on the side.

The change was minuscule – she wouldn’t discover it till the submission date.

For humans, however, that change upset everything – especially on their smaller scale.

The temperature rise on Earth is real. But who says humans alone are to be blamed for Global Warming?

###

They Call

It all began 465 days ago.

We were waiting for ages to make contact. Movies told us that they would destroy the big cities with a bang and novels old us that they would rather crash behind a nondescript house of a carpenter.

We waited. For the big antennas to pick up signals and for the nation heads to declare wars. Meanwhile, we went along with our humdrum lives. We commuted for long hours, we slogged in workplaces, and on weekends we wasted money on mindless entertainment. Nothing much happened beyond that.

When they finally came, the waiting itself had turned boring. We simply accepted that the contact finally happened. Nowhere fancy, they landed just outside a small village, near the vinegar factory. The factory workers were first frightened because of the silvery glittering spacecraft. But they somehow managed to stay calm and meet the visitors gracefully.

We at last got our aliens, who were obviously technologically better than us. They had mastered faster than light travel, they had several advanced gadgets, and they could quickly learn our languages. Sometimes all that looked like magic. But obviously – any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

They took charge. Exactly 20 days after their arrival. It seemed inevitable. And they had a cool charm to do it sweetly.

Once our world was fully at their command, they started training us. Initially some simple knowledge transfer. Then some serious practice. Then full weapons training.

Some of us sensed what this exercise was for. Apparently, for fighting with other aliens. They were preparing us to be their armed forces. But nothing was wrong in that. We actually enjoyed it. Anything is better than that daily commute and those dreadful taxes.

It all began 465 days ago. With the first contact. And now we are ready. To travel with them to distant worlds. Leaving the empty nothingness of suburban life. To fight their battles.

The only jarring thing is their physiology. Maybe it is right for that supremacy. But they don’t look like us at all. They have fewer legs – to begin with. They move those legs strangely. Also – they use their front legs very very differently.

And yes, they call themselves humans.

###

Sound Idea

The Institute building rose high in front of them. Its yellow color complemented the golden afternoon sun. The lawn they were lying on was slightly moist and smelled spring fresh. The vast expanse of the Time Research Center was quiet, except for a few birds chirruping.

But Sara was not in a mood to appreciate nature and its small wonders. She listened to John, stunned and totally astonished.

“So that’s the idea,” John ended triumphantly. “When we get our slot at the Time Machine next week, we’ll take these beautiful theories to Newton’s time. Sir Isaac Newton’s time. Let him understand Einstein and relativity and all that. I’ll bet that he will never attempt his theory after that!”

Sara sat up abruptly. Her eyes were wide open. “We get the time machine for research,” she said firmly. “Not for these silly tricks. Haven’t many tried before and got caught?”

John gave a wild laugh. “I will not be one of those dumb guys!” His eyes crinkled mischievously. “I have the most sound plan ever!”

Sara gave a disgusted look and got up. With an uneasy taste in her mouth, she jumped off the lawn, on the tiny path, and walked away.

She tried to spend the next six days away from John. Thinking about the consequences of disturbing the flow of the time. And thinking about how reckless a senior research student like John can be.

She was extra careful when their time came. She checked and rechecked John’s belongings several times. Even tipped the security people about him. But he was absolutely clear.

They were quarantined together for five hours. By the end of that, she felt tired and much drained. The little slot at the Time Machine had lost its charm for her. She dreaded if John would still take a crack at sending something in the past.

John was cool and whistling softly. As a last attempt, she tried to stop him before entering the massive control room. “John, no material things,” she said.

“OK,” he threw his hands up and continued whistling.

Once they were inside, the control group set the Time Machine at Newton’s time and his estimated location at that time. Sara took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on what she could see in the giant window.

Suddenly John straightened and started reciting the theory of relativity in a loud and clear voice, sending the sound waves back in time.

By the time Sara realized that, and pulled the emergency lever, the critical information had reached Newton.

Next instant, there was no Time Machine.

Instead, there was a huge speaker and some marvelous, magical acoustic machinery. The Time Research Center was nowhere in sight. Its great empty space was filled with heavenly musical notes.

John merely shrugged. Still with a dazzled expression on his face, he reiterated a known truth.

“Apparently, Newton was so thrilled to receive sound waves from the future, that he had abandoned all his ongoing research work and had directed his entire effort only towards research in sound!”

###

Helping Out

“I think you can help me.” The polite voice had a distinct European accent.

I looked up from my lab desk. A fair young person stared sweetly at me. He was dressed oddly, but still had a genuine air about him.

“I am no agony-aunt to help you with your problem.” I barked. “How did you get in?”

He was obviously puzzled with the agony-aunt bit. But his pleasant smile did not go away.

“I mean… I have a technical problem.” He tried to explain.

“What technical problem?” I roared. “I am no help-desk person either.”

He was definitely more puzzled with the help-desk bit. Yet he managed to remain calm.

“You are a scientist… er…researcher…er… metallurgical expert. Aren’t you?”

“So I am.” I was still pitched high.

“I think you have developed a new alloy. Maybe I can – “

“Now you are talking my language.” My voice came down a little.

He smiled nervously.

“What do you want to do with it?” I enquired.

“This alloy is light, can withstand high temperature and can be easily molded. Am I right?”

“Yes you are. But where did you get all that from?” Now I was puzzled.

He gave a mysterious smile.

“This is exactly what I want. You see, here is the basic design I made. But I had a problem with the material. I tried a number of materials, some were heavy, some were rigid. But mostly they all melted.”

“Melted? What temperature did you try?”

“High. Very very high. In fact very close to the temperature of the Sun.”

He produced something from an archaic bag. “Look here. The shape is important. It must be rightly molded. But the temperature – it has to withstand the temperature…”

I was stupefied by what he was showing.

Icarus was presenting me the design of his wings.

###

The Record Holder

“548 into 34789 ?”

“19064372”

“Square root of 67081?”

“259”

“What is the square of the largest prime under 100?”

“9409”

“What’s your age?”

“Eight.” Rita smiled sweetly. “ Cube of 2, sum of 3 and 5 – two prime numbers. The next number in the Fibonacci series of 0,1,1,2,3,5. Eight is the only cube in Fibonacci series barring 1.”

“Which is the 71st digit of the value of Pi?”

Rita hesitated for a moment. “The 71st decimal place digit is zero.”

Finesse Book of Milky Way Galaxy Records spokesperson Miranda frowned.

“You may call Rita as genius”, Miranda remarked wryly. “She may calculate fast, and you may call her human computer. But she is no match for the Real Record Holder.”

Apparently, the real record holder resided on planet Streveva 23, and he was a two year old donkey.

###

The Letter

Monday came at last, and with it, the letter.

She picked it up hesitantly, but could not bring herself to open it.

The third letter.

The first one had come on Tuesday. Exactly six days back.

That was a small piece of paper. Yet not quite like paper. It was white and blue and pink, square and triangular and changing constantly. It shone, erratically and strangely.

Then she realized that it was blank. Absolutely blank.

She panicked and tried to throw it away. But it had stuck to her fingers.

Then slowly, a few words formed on it. “We are coming.”

She suddenly felt chilly. Very chilly. Then mysteriously the paper fell on the floor. She dared not pick it up. She only stared.

And then it was gone. Disappeared.

She did not understand it first. What was it? Who sent it? Why? Why to me? Who are these “we”? Where are they coming? From where?

She was very careful moving around her apartment that day, though nothing unusual happened. She locked the windows and doors when she went to work.

The day had passed smoothly. So had Wednesday. By Thursday night, she had written it off as a bad joke.

On Friday morning, the second letter arrived. She was shaking while picking it up, checking the envelope first; making sure that it was addressed to her.

The envelope was quite ordinary, but the letter was not.

It was the same as the first time. An unknown thing in her hand. Blank first and gradually developing some words on it. “We are coming. Soon.”

She did not need to make efforts to throw it. It melted right in her hands and vanished.

She thought of telling someone. Asking for help. Maybe someone at the office. Although she found very hard to choose. The editor of her paper was kind but not very adventurous. Her closest colleague, the sports editor, was bold but immature. And none of her girlfriends would qualify either.

She thought of keeping mum for a while, thinking about who can play such silly gags. At last she had to accept that it was more than a gag.

She thought about her colleagues, her acquaintances, her friends, and her Exes. But she could not point to anyone for a malicious attack.

On Saturday, she waited for the mail. But there was none. She did not have to bother about Sunday. Still, as she lay awake in the late hours of Sunday, she was feeling anxious.

Monday came at last, and with it, the letter.

The third letter.

She picked it up hesitantly, but could not bring herself to open it.

Except that she did not have to open it. The letter seemed to come out automatically. She held it in her unsteady hand.

Once again the hazy letters formed. Becoming clearer. “We are here.”

And then there was a knock at the door.

She was terrified, but equally dazed. Without much thought she opened the door.

Four tall hooded guys walked in. They had shiny overcoats and unusually long thin hands.

“Thank you, ma’am.” One of them said politely. He also produced a paper with some printed stuff on it. She was scared out of her wits. “What is this?” She managed to say. “Well, you participated in our pilot program, so we have a way to say thanks.” The guy brought out a thick wad of notes.” If you will please sign this, ma’am.”

“W-what program?”

“Our test program of mail delivery. You got all three letters, right?”

“Yes, but they seemed to disappear on their own.”

“That’s right. We had that special material so that other people don’t get their hands on them.”

“I – I don’t understand…”

“It’s OK ma’am. We would just need your signature and then we will go back.”

“Wait. What program did you say?” She stopped with that form in her hand.

“Our test program of mail delivery from Yorna.”

“Yorna? Where is this place?”

“About seven light years away, ma’am.”

“What!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“But why me?”

”We selected 100 people at random, ma’am.”

“I – I don’t know what to say…”

“It’s OK ma’am. All other 99 had the same reaction.” The polite guy seemed to smile behind his shiny hood. “Please sign this form that you received all the three letters, and then we will give you the money.”

“But why – why would you test mail delivery from Yorna to Earth?” She was much stable now to think on her feet.

“Well, when our people colonize Earth, they would need an efficient mail service, wouldn’t they?”

“What, your people are going to invade Earth?”

“Ummm, we would rather call it colonize, ma’am.”

###

About the Author

Meghashri Dalvi writes science fiction when not consulting in Technical Communication or teaching Management. Flash stories under 1000 words, or often under 500 words, is her forte.

She can be contacted at [email protected].


Flash Fun

  • ISBN: 9781370083350
  • Author: Meghashri Dalvi
  • Published: 2016-08-02 11:20:08
  • Words: 2561
Flash Fun Flash Fun