Angel

This short story is part of the series in the style of Black Mirror Season 4, Episode 2: Arkangel.

Angel


He has been spending the whole night out there. She must be scared right now, my lovely baby. He thinks to himself, going through all the possible combinations of terrible fates that might befall her. Did she get kidnapped? Or she fell into a drain and was calling out for help? The very thought shivers his bones.

He breathes faster and faster, his thought more and more muddled. The moonlight shines through the leaves of the trees, leaving streaks of shadow behind him. He ignores the yellow notification of raising heartbeat and flips up the Angel app. She is just there, how do I not bloody see her?

Target acquired: 50 metres ahead.

Angel beeps. He turns around, moving each step as lightly as he can in order not to startle her or anyone around her. He couldn’t tell anything in the darkness, but his Angel keeps flashing on his retina.

40 metres ahead.

30 metres ahead.

20 metres ahead.

This is it, don’t you run away from me again. His attention can’t be diverted away from the flashing notifications, keeping an eye on the nearby map. A few people stroll in the park, occasional joggers come and go. He says to himself, I’ll forgive everything and anything as long as you come back.

10 metres ahead.

He can see her, or can nearly smell her perfume. He can make out her silhouette despite hidden amid the trees. She seems to talk to another guy. Another guy!? He can’t stop but start running towards her. With his fist clenched.

5 metres ahead.

1 metre ahead.

“Hey, what are you doin-” Her word turns into a scream when his fist lands on the bastard standing besider her. He can feel one or two tooth was dislodged. The guy stumbles and falls down. Before the guy can react he lands a flurry of blows on his every visible body part. T

“Please stop, oh my god someone please help…” He turns around to look at her, but to see a pixelated image. The black and white mosaics move frantically on the face-part, her voice pierce his eardrums.

You have found your Angel. Congratulations!

He grins. This app really delivers its promise – Meet new and interesting people nearby. He has been stalking her since he swiped her right five days ago. He was timid at the start, but the app kept motivating him and gave him useful tips and newest updates of her whereabouts. It is really worth the price, he thinks to himself as he punches her boyfriend to death to remove her pixelated image.

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Toys

This short story is part of the series in the style of Black Mirror Season 4, Episode 1: USS Callister.

 

Toys


“To the infinity and beyond!” A booming voice resonates in the room.

“That’s enough for today Buzz,” I yawn while spinning a cowboy hat, “we don’t need to put up the act while he’s off.”

A figure in a spacesuit flies down from the table. With his boosters lit, he twirls and spins in the air a few rounds before landing. “I knew it, Woody, but I just can’t help it. I gotta practice it before my head gets twisted and stuck in this helmet again.” He taps his space helmet with a wink.

My stomach churns. “Don’t remind me of that scene again.”

“Nah buddy, cheer up! Not that you saw that for the first time!” Buzz pats me at the back. “Wanna get some booze?”

“It’s okay, I’m fine.” I look at the clock. 7:50pm. I motioned to Buzz. “He will be online soon.”

Buzz claps his hands heartily. “Well well, when did we get a cry baby here?” He zips in the air and lands back to the table, “always look at the bright side of life~” he continues whistling and signals the rest of the group to stay at where they ought to be.

“Potato Head, look, your eye is on the grou– oh shit, I forgot you can’t see, two steps in front of you– Hey, hey! Slinky, don’t get tangled up now, Andy don’t like to play with a spoilt slinky! Everyone brace up!” Buzz is busy with his work while I am walking back to my station.

“3, 2, 1… show time!” Buzz lands on the floor and turns off his boosters just before a hulking shadow walks in.

“It’s party time, Woody!” Andy, or I call Mr Andrew Jovinski back in my workplace, comes into the view and shouts at me. Andy, in the form of a boy of seven years old, grabs me at my feet and lifts me up the floor.

Before I realise anything, my world is spinning around me. I see the bed, cupboard and all other toys around me. I also catch a glimpse of Buzz’s iconic green suit, although I always joke he ends up in a “vomit bin”. Well karma always pays you back.

Andy smashes me hard on the floor after an eternity. I feel my head being pressed down by a weight.

“Woody, how much I like you…” the weight shifts slightly, inducing a painful but tolerable sensation at my neck. “but I just hate you whenever I see you in the office.” The weight rocks back and forth, and to my horror I realise it’s Andy’s toe.

I think Buzz is totally frozen at the spot. He learnt the hard lesson when he was punished the first time. Unable to comprehend what happened, Buzz tried to escape with his booster but Andy hit him with a baseball bat, and duct taped the whole suit until he suffocated. Since then, he had been our de facto leader and orientated us in the new world. It is just common agreement between us – whatever happens to anyone, don’t move, don’t react.

“My play does not need you, little Woody.” Andrew’s tone changed from a kid to his usual voice in the office. Cold and unwelcoming. I should not have employed him in the first place despite all the warnings. Were he not the smartest programmer I have ever seen, I would have stopped the tragedy today–

Last thing I heard is the loud snap of my neck.

“To the infinity and beyond!” A booming voice resonates in the room again.


 

 

Writing Prompt: Black Mirror S4

The brilliant sci-fi series “Black Mirror” just aired its 4th season on Netflix. As beautiful as the previous three seasons, the six episodes illustrate the interaction between modern society and emerging technologies, particularly on the dark nature of humanity and the unexpected consequences of such interaction. In this season, the topics focus on the technologies of AI, cybernetics and implants, and virtual reality.

I’m going to attempt to spin a few tales about the themes in each episodes, and invite you to join me if your writing hand is itchy. Of course, limited by time I can’t explore the intricate issues in a detailed manner as the original does, but I hope I am able to take one idea from each episode and tell a decent story.

The links are below for easy access in the future.

  • S4E1: USS Callister – 12 Jan 2018 – Toys
  • S4E2: Arkangel – 11 Jan 2018 – Angel
  • S4E3: Crocodile –
  • S4E4: Hang the DJ –
  • S4E5: Metalhead –
  • S4E6: Black Museum –

Until then, live long and prosper!

Glitter

“Not all that glitters is star, not all those who wander are lost…”

He mumbled the first two lines of a variation of Tolkien’s poem in Lord of the Rings. Looking out of his observatory deck, the view was indeed breathtaking. He was drifting in space while the ring systems of Saturn slowly crept into the view. That was roughly over one billion kilometres away from Earth, and the wanderer was finally close to his home.

“…The old that is strong does not wither, deep core is not reached by the frost…”

The rings, a great feature of the gas giant, formed a glittering halo around its mother planet. Billions of tiny pebbles and ice cubes reflected the sunlight to his capsule, not unlike a flowing river that sheen with Sun’s grace. Sun, the yellow star that is special to humanity yet is totally ordinary in the universe, was fine now. He thought to himself. At least, it still remained unharmed, untouched by those hunters from which he escaped.

“…From the stardust a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring…”

He remembered what Mrs. Amy had taught in that breezy afternoon: Stars are born from the gravitational pull of the space dust, a gathering force so strong that the space dust starts to fuse and radiate heat and light. Most of them burn through their fuel and go off in a spectacular fashion, spewing out stardust in every possible direction. The cycle repeats and a new star is born again. He still remembered how the sunlight reflected off his crush’s glasses, and how beautiful her eyes looked under the autumn sun.

He stopped before the last couplet. The space capsule tumbled and stumbled, and he caught glimpses of a terrifying view every time the observation deck faced the Sun. It glittered, or in a better term, became glitters in the black backdrop of space. The sphere of hot plasma has disintegrated into thousands of small balls, like a big bubble breaking down into small ones in bathtub.

At that moment, he knew he was too late.

 

via Daily Prompt: Glitter

Yellow

Any sort of colour was a welcome sight to him. In his field, people grouped different subjects in terms of their colours – red, yellow, blue – and studied them. The different hues showed the maturity of each star, how close it was to its doomsday. They could blow up in a interstellar firework, or collapse to a black hole. Of course, the assumption was the star died to a natural cause.

To him, yellow was particularly alluring. It signified home, instilling a sense of belonging in him. The appearance of a small yellow speck on his navi-globe could have brought him to tears. That could mean the Sun, and in turn, Earth, his home.

He has been a space nomad for twenty years. Or that’s what his console’s screen showed him after the superluminal device broke down. You couldn’t really count days and years in space without a reference point. After all, the notion of year started as the time for Earth to revolve around the Sun for a complete round.

His space capsule was kept in a tumbling motion to create a micro-gravity environment, not unlike how a rollercoaster could keep the passengers on the seats. He once groaned at the reason when Mrs. Amy mentioned it in Physics class – “For God’s sake, there are seat belts!” No one could argue with the universal law of centrifugal force though, especially when you’re stranded in space without any seat belt.

He was on a mission from Aegean: to be a herald of inevitable doom from Marathon. And he’s afraid he was too late. Mrs. Amy and all the people he knew might have perished, and everything he knew turned into dust.

 

via Daily Prompt: Yellow

Marathon

Word had it that space was the final frontier – a boundary to push ourselves beyond our capabilities to achieve things beyond our imagination. What the word didn’t say was we might cower and crumble under the sheer speechless horror when facing the unimaginable.

He opened his eyes and gasped when the capsule shook uncontrollably. It has been two hundreds years since he was put in the stasis, and his awakening could only spell one thing: the total destruction of Starfleet Endeavour. The battle at Aegean System must have failed, and he needed to carry the message back to the Earth.

He was one of the ten Mercury agents, a special crew trained for superluminal travel to carry messages between two predestined points. The discovery of such technological breakthrough happened in 3,257 AD at Planet Ionian, a planet at the outer rim of Aegean. Humanity elated at its potential: hyperspace travel, information transmission and other dreams once forbidden by ordinary physical laws.

And they came. Cold and calculated, as if they had been waiting for this precise moment to happen. They belonged to a species called Perxian, according to an intercepted signal. Not much intel was extracted, only one painful fact: they consumed light, creeping endlessly in the dark space.

He tried to recall what happened before his pod was ejected: Endeavour warped to Marathon space in Aegean to stop the spreading of the mad Perxian mass, and arrived only to be swallowed by the swirling void. Mercury agents were deployed when the hull cracked, to warn the Earth: RUN.

Fumbling the console in front of him, he saw a tiny screen with a reflection of his eyes. Haggard and bloodshot. He pressed a key and a message flashed on the screen.

” νενικήκαμεν?”

 

via Daily Prompt: Marathon

Filthy (6)

It swallowed the half-chewed tar, coughing and mumbling: “How do you know?”

Madame’s eyes followed the trail of her glowing orb before she put down her cup. “I’d not have placed a sliver of bet to believe it, if M’sha didn’t tell me about your mission.” She took a sip again, and sneered. “Before carrying on, I suppose I should have the right to know whom I’m working with, don’t you agree, dear D’ion?”

It, or D’ion the female Durousian, remained silent. She noticed the two shrimps hovered at her sides in a flanking formation. Her indices twitched. “M’sha sends her regards. We have been seeing an increase of distortion in data at Durous, so it’s just for an evaluation of rigidity as M’sha instructed.”

“Is that so?” She glanced her from top to bottom. “My orb said otherwise. It said you are here for something … bigger. What else could have invited an agent of Durous without any potential opening, flaw or crack to breach?”

She cleared her throat, awaiting for D’ion’s response. “Threads are our lifelines – we use it to transfer money, data, energy – everything that flows depends on their good operation. Your mission is either a sabotage, or an intelligence espionage.”

D’ion was tapping her two indices on her head like a tap dancer. The coldies formed a kaleidoscopic pattern on her face, blinking in a random order. Finally she broke the silence. “As per M’sha’s will, I am to seek your help to cut loose a thread connecting to Story Seven. We suspected an abuse of power, and a recent investigation confirmed our worst prediction.”

“Ahhh… Story Seven. Filthy place begets filthy host. We’ve been monitoring him for four cycles of Promethean, He has been taking up much processing power of our part without contributing to the Core.” Her glob turned from an alarming orange to soothing blue. “So now D’ion, tell me, how can I help you?” She grinned.

via Daily Prompt: Filthy