Denver, 1 Million A.D.
Andrew R Crow
Hayward Fault Line Winner
An intelligent organometal Ship, along with 2 cyber-enhanced humans, hung in a synchronous orbit above Denver, Earth (though neither the Ship nor its occupants knew or ever would know the city's name). The Ship, 7 Alanha Blue Blue (oh, how she loved her new sex!) had dragged herself and her 2 (mostly) human shipmates (a male and a female, at least they were this week) 10.5 light-years through flatspace from the 3rd structured city on the 2nd planet of Epsilon Eridani to Denver into a safe orbit around the blue planet. She did a quick prelim scan of the planet. The home world of her crew's ancestors seemed dead after all. Essa would be pleased. The faint sound of the familiar, age-old bickering told her the crew was awake.

She sighed, her good mood lost.


She put her plan in motion.

"Told you it was dead." Essa sprayed the air with justification essence, emphasising her point. "We didn't need to leave the Ship."

Soo-jun, sliding beside her, hummed a quick C-sharp and his eyesight slowly shifted into the infrared as he scanned the area. "Don't rush me. And what is that smell?" He knew full well, just hated her new enhancement. Almost as much as he hated her.

"I'm not rushing you, lover "-essence of sarcasm not required-"I'm gloating. Another one you owe me. You always get a headache from Transit, anyway." She sprayed him again. See what that does for your head.

His sliding continued. "I could bash my head against the first hard surface I see, but you'd just re-gen me out of spite, anyway." He concentrated on his scanning, moving back to the visible range. Damn! She was right. Earth was dead. Not even a dung piece of grass. The wind was cold, and smelled of rain. "You win. Again. What do you want?" "You should know what I want."

"Yeah, me lying in a biobed, all readings negative." He glanced at the glorious mountains, simultaneously awaiting a response, feeling awe, disappointment, scanning the air for hydrocarbons, and trying, unsuccessfully, to block a sense of loss, coming from two directions.

A hum behind him signalled a Transit. He turned. Storage containers. Many of them. "What the-"

Satisfied that Essa and Soo-jun had enough provisions to last a few months, the Ship broke orbit and skipped into flatspace on what could best be called a joyride. She hoped her plan would work and they'd make up. She'd find out soon enough.

And now she had some time to herself.

She composed a love song and sent it out.

Maybe she'd meet someone.

Love was so hard to come by these days.

First published: February, 2007
comments to the writer: Knob'