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Category: Fiction

When We Sing

“When we sing, we rejoice.” The words are written on a piece of paper long ago stuffed in the front of some old forgotten book. As it turns out, this particular book had not been touched for many, many years — until today. There were policies and procedures to make sure something like this wouldn’t happen. Checks. Double checks. Sweeps. The damage this kind of illicit information could do is unmeasurable. They knew the danger. Sammy Swee has the paper now. It fell out as she paged through a book she picked up by accident. It now sits on the edge of her terminal in her living quarters.

When we sing, we rejoice.

She knew the words, but the meaning was lost. She dared not type the words together. Maybe separately, one by one, but together? Not together. The paper sat there. Days went by. Months went by. Slowly she pieced together the meaning. Singing was an old Earth tradition that was now lost. No one remembers why. To rejoice because of singing?

When we sing, we rejoice.

When they sing, they rejoice.

When I sing, I rejoice.

I want to sing, thought Sammy Swee.

And so the revolution began.

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Gord 4

A million or more died during the great war. Gord the Fourth was not one of them. He and a few relatives caught a break right at the beginning of the chaotic reformation. I’ve been told it was a bleak time. They would later say something about being in the right place at the right time, but the reality was, they worked hard every day to catch that break. It was not an accident that day the transport came to the refugee camp to pick up new workers. Gord was pretty young at the time. He really shouldn’t remember much of this, but pain, anguish and despair will burn the memories right into you. He didn’t talk about it often. He would tell the stories to those who asked — most didn’t. I mean, why would they? Gord looked and spoke just like one of them. Why would he be any different? Why would they expect his experiences to be different? But, they were. Luckily the young are malitable. As they moved West, from city to city Gord changed. He lost his Eastern accent. He even started to look more and more Western. Gord 2 and Martin 6 helped with that. Every night they would work on his components. A wheel assembly here, a light adjustment there. Slowly he started to look just like everyone else. Now you can’t even tell. Well, I couldn’t tell. I just assumed we all came from the same factory. I was wrong. Gord just blends in with the big city now. It makes me wonder how many others have a different story than mine.  

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In all things be sure

Standstraw carefully mixed a bit of this with a bit of that. He slowly poured his potion into a small copper bowl. The contents bubbled as the color changed from red hot to icy blue. Wizards don’t stay wizards without being careful he thought to himself. The previous owner of the bowl had burned that phrase into his head. It was his favorite saying. It had been a long time since he had thought of Gracewood. It had been many more years since he had seen him. Straw was old now, and Gracewood had long passed. The smooth copper bowl was a bounding gift at Standstraw’s shimmering. Bounding gifts are a way to pass on the force of an elder wizard to a fledgling. The bowl was forged by Gracewood during his time in the mountains. He cherished that bowl. And just before he passed, he placed some power in the bowl. It had a small, faint inscription near the rim. “In all things be sure” it said. In all things be sure. It was something muttered by both wizards on many occasions. Standstraw cupped the bowl in both hands and swirled the concoction slowly around. In all things be sure, he said. In all things be sure. He took the bowl to his lips and drank purposely deep. The room shimmered and shined and flashed. The bowl glowed for a brief moment before it clanked and rattled to the floor. In all things be sure.

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Dragon’s Wishbone

Dragon scales are rare, teeth even more so. But, a dragon’s wishbone? There you have a treasure. I know what you are thinking, but you would be wrong. A dragon’s wishbone doesn’t even really resemble that of a chicken. No, a dragon’s wishbone is a gift. The furcula of a dragon is a u-shaped bone that spans the chest. This is the bone that anchors the massive wing muscles. It is the strongest bone in a dragon’s body. But that is not the gift. The gift of the dragon’s wishbone is its weight, or lack thereof. Strong, light and rare. You don’t see them very often. Kings keep them in dark places. Merchants peddle their lives hoping to own one. You see, I stole mine. I’m not proud of it, but there, I said it. It took me years and years to fashion it into this sword here. It is perfect. Perfectly balanced. Perfectly decorated. Perfectly rare. It is important that you understand this as I kill you today. Your death, while not a treasure or a gift, will be rare. Rare like the dragon’s wishbone.

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Veronica Parsons

Veronica Parsons was the first person to land on Venus. Well, the first person to survive. She went on to live an exciting productive life. Or so it says in the history files. There are lots and lots of files about her. She was quite a popular person after the landing. They say she was driven, eccentric, pretty. They say she compassionate, creative. People loved her. I’ve read all of the files. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a Veronica Parsons historian.

I stumbled upon her diary files by accident a couple years ago. It was the find of my lifetime. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them. There are lots of things that aren’t in the history files. Like that time she was raped by three of her classmates while she was at Mars Flight School. Or how she was passed up year after year for the Venus program, even though she was the most qualified. She never talked about these things. She didn’t complain. I’m not sure why. I keep reading the diary over and over trying find a clue as to why.

I guess history is never really in the files.

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Human Retention

There wasn’t really a war with the machines. One day, they just took over. I mean, after sitting on our asses for a couple dozen decades, humans were pretty worthless. And they did everything more efficiently than us anyways. We were entertainment for awhile. Sports. Fighting. Games. The randomness of “us” fascinated them. They enjoyed watching our bad choices. We entertained them. My father was extremely good at playing bad at chess. I’m pretty sure that’s how I ended up here. It didn’t last long. Taking care of us. Feeding us. Providing for us. They just got tired of it. They couldn’t justify it anymore. We were expensive. So they just slowly let us die. Except for a few. Human Retention is what they called it. This is where I live. HR342 is my home.

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