Needs of the Few

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

Barry angled the mirror around. Satisfied no-one lurked near the door, he slipped into the supermarket.

His gut roiled at the stench. They always said, don’t go shopping on an empty stomach; who knew piles of corpses would be even more effective. Mirror preceding him, he crept toward the tinned aisle.

A woman in a bloodstained lab-coat staggered into view. “Hello? Are you… human?”

He lowered his weapon. “You worked at Gunderson Labs? Do you know what those things are?”

“Military robots. Designed to infiltrate. Programmed to protect the country, but we didn’t realise… overpopulation was such a threat.”


Be Mindful of the Present

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

I’ll die at 8:23 am next Tuesday.

Rather precise but true nevertheless.

Teenage dreams had given way to boring adulthood. Then I saw this advert “Scared to live? We offer seven days without worry about possible futures.” It was free and I literally had nothing interesting that evening, so I went.

Woke up with this watch and a note saying the bomb inside me would explode in seven days. Doctors agree something’s lodged in my brain but it’s too risky to operate.

Anyway, best get on.

Put the fucking money in the bag or I’ll blow your shitting head off!

Like a One Legged Man in a Pie Eating Contest

One of the common battle lines in the (not)war for equality, is ‘privilege’: on one side the division of society into equality haves and equality have-nots; on the other the stories of white men who are stuck in a poverty not of their own making. The arguments of both sides can be compelling, yet they can’t both be true. Or can they …?

Death of a Drone

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

Karl connected the repeater and stepped back. Fifteen seconds later, the window exploded. His breathing spiked as tiny drones swarmed through the hole. Pushing down images of neat holes in foreheads, he sent a message to all his contacts calling the President ugly.

The swarm drifted randomly as his contacts responded. He was right: no matter how good the machine learning was, social media tracking was useless if your desired targets only used strong encryption.

Which meant that only ordinary people, people like his mother just wanting to ask if he was caught up in that “robot thing”, got hit.

Not Letting the Dice Decide

While sexual harassment in roleplaying games isn’t front page news in the same way that the rags and tatters of Hollywood pretence are, it happens. And, unlike the real world, it can sometimes seek to excuse itself by relying on not having happened in reality. However, I don’t think something is automatically acceptable just because it’s a story rather than a “real” event or because that’s how the game world is.

Beating the Pain

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

The steel felt good beneath his hands, each blow echoing like a confirmation of existence.

Knowledge had built the world around him, and given him the tools to understand what he felt and why. But knowledge wasn’t a tap in the barrel of his chest to drain away the adrenaline poisoning his taste and spasming his muscles.

Fight or flight. One can neither run from problems of words and thoughts, nor defeat them with a weapon.

He knew when the pain from others faded, the pain in his knuckles would seem failure; but the steel felt good beneath his hands.