You Probably Die Twice

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

Basildon Watt glanced down. Brass jaws snapped shut inches below as the clockwork alligators strained for his feet. Maybe not the best day to show off his new hand-stitched brogues after all.

Not that he’d notice their demise. The scrolling laser would reach him well before one of the mechanical lizards got around to standing on it’s fellows.

“The orbital mining was obviously for the engagement ring, Don Pagliacci. But, why kidnap the world’s leading experts on Mustelidae?”

Pagliacci waved his cigar dramatically. “Isn’t it obvious, Mr Watt? I’m going to make the world an otter it can’t defuse!”

Life Outside the Tank

You say we don’t understand your experience.
So we ask.
And you say that it ain’t your job to educate us.
Which is true, but doesn’t help solve the issue.
And solving the issue’s not your job either,
But that don’t mean you aren’t allowed to try if you want.

Which is why there are your stories out there.
Stories we get to read if we find them.
But they aren’t everywhere.
They aren’t common enough that we see the nuance just by breathing.
Because it’s not your job to educate or to fix.
And because of the cheap-shooting, foul-mouthed,
Logical-only-when-it-suits minority.
Those unhappy few who spew hate at anyone who dares to
Not be a bitter little pill
And who deserve

To be treated like human beings.
Because that’s how it works.
If humanity, decency, and virtue are about more than my tribe’s gonna kill yours,
Then that’s how it works.
They don’t have a right to come to your forum and talk shit about your faith.
The don’t have a right to come to your post and make jokes about your mother.
But they do have the right to be treated like a human being.

Because Kant’s idea that we make the rules
So we treat you the way we want to treated
Has problems.
But if you turn it round:
Create some rule about treating others the way you don’t want to be treated?
The clue’s in the name: Tnak.
Because, that’s not just an idea that will tank society;
It’s muddled thinking too.

Because we all share one experience:
Someone smacks you round the head, you want to smack them back.

Hunters of the Free Tsar

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

T’kjun pressed his flippers to the ice, shooting forward to the base of the berg. Harpoon cinched tight, he clambered up. The five heads that had shattered the ice had gone—for now. The tribe relied on him to find the bounty exposed by the breaking and to give warning if the five heads returned. He would not fail them.

Beak jutting, he crested the ridge and stopped in awe. Aqua green skin with markings of brown and beige. A mighty Vy’un Etta, flanks barely dusted with frost.

Raising his harpoon above his head, he signalled the mammoth handlers to advance.

All the Time in the World

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

Plastic shards spray across the room.

Suddenly, the hammer reappears in my hand.

I slump down, another idea defeated.

Building the tachyon bridge was my greatest moment. Portable time travel. Only a few seconds. But still time travel.

Each moment of error could be erased as if it had never been.

But some consequences are too sudden; so, I added an AI.

The tests worked. Until I tried to turn it off: to a binary mind, if I’m safe with it on, it’s dangerous to turn it off.

I tried moving out of range, but the world’s a dangerous place.