Tag: spaceship

Flashback Video: Unlucky Thursdays

This story was originally posted December 8, 2016. It was posted again on May 3, 2019. It remains my favorite of the stories I’ve posted here, so I chose it to be the first of my flashback videos.

I had a lot of fun making the video. I hope you enjoy it, too. Please let me know what you think!

Friday Flashback: How Louis Saved the World

This story was originally posted on September 29, 2017. Aliens are fun to write about. They come from far, far away, which already makes them sound like part of a story. Other than the long-distance travel, they’re completely mysterious. It’s an interesting idea to explore.

Louis was home in the middle of the day, because he was sick. If it was up to him, he would have been at school.   Today they were going to make ice cream as a science experiment. That was much better than staying in bed and staring at the ceiling.

Unfortunately, Mom said that if you have a fever and a runny nose, and a terrible cough, and a sore throat and can’t stop sneezing, then you should stay home. Throwing up after breakfast hadn’t helped his argument at all, either. So, Louis blew his nose again and sneezed and looked at the ceiling.   Ceilings are boring.

“Mom, I’m bored,” Louis yelled. Then he coughed. Ouch.   His throat really hurt.

“Then take a nap,” his mom yelled back. “You need to rest so that you can heal.”

Louis scowled. He was much too old for naps, and he wasn’t at all sleepy. Well, he was maybe a little bit tired. But not really enough to fall asleep yet. He turned and watched the shadows on the wall move.   The wind must be blowing through the tree outside.

And then, the shadows started to fade, or maybe the room started to glow.   Louis wasn’t quite sure. It was all a little strange. Everything looked a little bit foggy. Louis blinked, and when he opened his eyes, he wasn’t in his bedroom any more.

He was in a strange metal room filled with blinking lights. Something was making a clicking sound. Three tall skinny beings with greenish skin and bright blue eyes looked at him. They were definitely aliens. Louis looked back. One of the aliens said something, but Louis didn’t know what he was saying. “I don’t speak your language,” Louis said.

The aliens approached and one of them looked closely into Louis’s face.   The aliens smelled like dust.   Lots of dust. Louis sneezed right into the alien’s face, and then he couldn’t stop sneezing.

The alien backed up, but the other two crowded closer. The sneezing hurt his throat and upset his stomach. Louis threw up on the other two aliens. The aliens backed up and bowed. One of the aliens pushed a button on the wall, and the room started to get brighter.   Everything looked foggy. Louis blinked.

And he was back in his room looking up at the ceiling. Had any of that really happened? Mom knocked on the doorframe and came in. “How are you feeling?” she asked. “Any better?”

“Mom, I was just captured by aliens,” Louis said. “I threw up all over them, so they let me go.”

“That sounds like a nice dream,” Mom said. “Is your stomach still upset?” She put her hand on his forehead. “Oh dear, you’re still quite warm. Would you like some ice cream?”

“For lunch?” Louis asked.

“Why not,” Mom said. “You’re feeling sick.”

Maybe being sick wasn’t so bad, except for the staring at the ceiling part.   Even being captured by aliens wasn’t terrible. It had been kind of interesting.   If it really happened at all, of course.

Two days later, Louis was back in class. He’d missed the ice cream experiment and a math quiz, but otherwise things had been pretty quiet at school. Susie said that Dan threw up on the slide just a day ago.

Louis decided that being sick probably happened to everybody at one time or another. He was glad that he felt better now and could move forward. He hoped he didn’t feel sick again anytime soon and that he never threw up on the slide.  That sounded embarrassing.

Hundreds of thousands of miles away, the crew of an alien space ship coughed and sneezed and stared at the ceiling and tried not to throw up. “I thought it was too eager to give us the samples we required. It was completely suspicious,” one said.

“I thought it believed we were peaceful scientists,” another replied.   “How was I to know it recognized us as a possible threat.” The alien sneezed and sneezed and sneezed.

“Well, I’m going to recommend we don’t try to colonize this world. The inhabitants are far too hostile. And they don’t fight fair, either,” the last one said. And then he threw up.

Gingerbread Peril

Once there was a little old woman who was baking a tray of lovely gingerbread aliens. After they cooled, she piped icing onto each little alien, making sure that they had three eyes and ten limbs and rainbow freckles. Just as she finished the last freckle on the last alien, the whole tray of cookies sat up, jumped out of the pan, and slid down the legs of the table.

The little old woman stood up so quickly that her chair fell down behind her with a thud. Unfortunately, the aliens were already at the front door. They slipped through the mail slot one by one before she could catch them.

She threw open the front door and ran down the first three steps in her slippers. The gingerbread aliens had all disappeared. “Come back,” she called to her empty front yard. “I need you for the bake sale. The choir needs new robes.”

But the gingerbread aliens did not come back. They hid under the rose bush until she went back inside. Then they crept around the edge of the yard and through the picket fence. The first alien frosted was the oldest of the group, so he was in charge and led the way.

They passed a yard with a wire fence. Behind the fence, a big black dog barked loudly. “Come here, little cookies,” he said. “I am hungry, and I think it’s been a million years since I last ate.”

“What good would that do us?” the oldest alien asked.

“What else are cookies good for?”

The gingerbread aliens all scowled with all three of their eyes. The dog took a step back. The aliens kept walking. “We are not here for bake sales or feeding dogs,” the oldest cookie said as they left.

“Then why are you here?” the dog asked. But the gingerbread aliens were all gone. “Come back,” he called. “I’m so hungry. Come back!”

But the aliens did not come back. They kept walking.

The oldest alien led them to a stream. A fox was sunning himself on the bank. He stood up as they arrived. “Do you need a ride across the stream? I could carry you on my back.”

The gingerbread aliens conferred in a murmur. “What is the cost?” the oldest cookie asked at last.

The fox smiled, showing off his sharp teeth. “I would only eat a few of you. Maybe five or six.”

“No.” The cookies turned and started walking alongside the stream.

“What else are cookies good for?” the fox called after them. But the gingerbread aliens were gone. The fox laid back down with a huff and fell asleep.

The cookies eventually reached a bridge. At this point, their many feet were crumbly and their icing was sticky. “Just a little further,” the oldest said.

But, as they reached a bridge, out jumped a troll. “Anyone who crosses my bridge must pay a toll,” he said.

“We won’t allow you to eat any of us,” the oldest gingerbread alien said. All the cookies glared fiercely.

“Trolls don’t eat sugar. That’s poison to us. I want gold or meat.”

The oldest cookie pointed further down the bank in the opposite direction. “Like that?”

The troll turned. He squinted. “Like what?” But when he turned back around, the gingerbread aliens were gone. “Come back. You didn’t pay the toll,” he bellowed. But the cookies did not come back.

They were already across the bridge and walking through the meadow on the other side. They darted towards a metal lump leaning against the fence on the far side of the meadow. It looked a bit like two large cake pans stuck together.

As the cookies approached the lumpy metal thing, they disappeared one by one, oldest to youngest. And then the lumpy metal thing rose in the air and disappeared.

Two doughnuts were inside already and began passing around paperwork. “How did it go? Did everyone make it back?”

The oldest gingerbread alien sighed. “Yes, but I would recommend scrapping the randomizer. It’s far too risky. I don’t think the camouflage potential is worth the risk. How long until this wears off?”

“Tomorrow somebody is going to have a batch of cookies back. And two doughnuts.”

The gingerbread alien sighed. “Well, maybe she’ll have something for her bake sale after all. I’m just glad it won’t be us. Cookies lead a hard life. Everyone wants to eat them.”

“Sure,” the doughnut said. “What else are cookies good for?”

The Little Spaceship That Could

Once there was a mighty civilization that lived on a dying planet. The sun was growing larger and the planet was overheating to the point that living there just wasn’t possible for much longer. Fortunately, the civilization had already built a colony on another planet, far away from the growing sun.

Unfortunately, the colony planet was on the other side of the galaxy. There was only enough time to make one trip. And so, the civilization threw all its resources into building space ships and gathering resources for the journey.

The politicians all promised that there would be room for everyone on the spaceships. Everyone was calm as they began to plan and pack and prepare. Eventually, it was time to load up the spaceships and send them on their way.

The trouble started when there were only three spaceships left. The last group of people on the list had nowhere to go. The spaceships were all full.

The group hurried over to the largest, newest spaceship before it could take off. The leader of the group, an older man who had done a lot of good for his community, called for the ship’s captain to come meet with them. After a long wait, the captain met them at the staging area just outside the ship.

“You have the biggest, newest ship. Won’t you make room for us so that we aren’t left behind?” the man asked.

The captain frowned. “My ship is loaded to capacity. Regulations say that it isn’t safe to add extra weight beyond the maximum recommendations. I will not risk the lives of those already aboard.”

“But if we’re left behind, we’ll all die. Can’t we ask some scientists if there is some way to redistribute the load to safely add a few more passengers?” the old man pleaded.

The captain shook his head. “It was scientists who designed the ship and decided on the safety standards after numerous tests. They were experts on this ship. Why consult anyone else? I’m sorry that I cannot help you.”

He returned to his ship, and sealed the door. The warning lights came on and the group hurried out of the staging area. The large, shiny new spaceship took off and left the dying planet behind.

The group turned to the next ship. It was as large as the first, but older. It had traveled to the colony planet more than once, and was considered a safe, reliable ship.

The leader of the group called for the ship’s captain. The captain met with them at the door of the ship. “Will this take long?” he asked. “I’m already behind schedule.”

The leader pointed out the group behind him. “Could you make room for our group? The ships are full, and if we’re left behind we’ll all die.”

The captain shook his head. “I’m sorry. My ship is old, and it’s completely full. I know what it can handle, and I wouldn’t risk adding any more weight. It just isn’t safe.”

The old man looked back at his group. “Can’t you leave something behind? Surely you can make room for at least some of us? There will be resources to make up what was lost when you arrive at the new colony.”

The captain sighed and ran his hand through his hair until it stood on end. “I’m sorry, I really am. Unfortunately, we’re already behind schedule. We just don’t have time to take inventory again and debate what we could leave behind. I’ve gone over the list so many times. I’m afraid that we just can’t help you.”

He closed the door and the warning lights went on. The group hurried away as the ship took off. Only the smallest, oldest ship was left. Feeling almost hopeless, the group approached the ship.

The leader called for the captain. The captain met them at the door. “There are people left here?” the captain asked in surprise. “Did you know this is the last ship?”

“Yes, we know,” the leader said. “Can you make room for us?”

“Of course I can,” the captain said. “If you’re left behind, you’ll all die.”

The captain called for a few of his officers. “We have to make room,” he told them.

“With extra people, we won’t need all those blankets,” the first said.

“Blankets don’t take up much room,” the second pointed out. “Let’s rip out the chairs. We can sit on the floor.”

“We can throw out our shoes and hats, too,” the first said. “Who needs those in space?”

“We don’t need doors.”

“We don’t need chocolate.”

“Let’s not get crazy,” the captain said. “Of course we need chocolate. Get rid of the bed frames and tables instead.”

The crew and passengers spent the next few hours building a towering pile of things to leave behind. The ship was still a little heavier than expected, but the captain wasn’t worried.

“If we can make it out of the atmosphere, the rest is smooth sailing,” he assured everyone.

They huddled close during countdown. The ship took off. As they sped through the atmosphere, everyone in the ship could hear the captain quietly tell them through the intercom, “We can do this. Our ship can do this. In a few minutes, the worst will be over. We can do this.”

He was right. The ship made it through the atmosphere just fine. It was a little uncomfortable crossing the galaxy without tables and chairs and bed frames, but at least there was chocolate.

The passengers and crew of the little-ship-that-could went down in legend. Great leaders and inventors and heroes in the colony planet could trace their family lines to the people who traveled there on the little ship.

Many years after the voyage, a researcher interviewed the last surviving passenger, who had been a little girl during the journey. “Why do you think so many great innovators traveled on that particular ship?” the researcher asked.

“We knew that we could do anything. The captain told us so, and he was right.”