Thursday, May 10, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday #7: The Phloating Phiddler Crab of GJ 667AB

They said it was a Super-Earth.

That's not to say that the planet was "really great" super. It was super as in it was like earth. Kind of. Only that it was four times as massive as Earth.

It isn't that great, actually.

I came here alone. After Earth's astronomers had verified that GJ 667AB, a trinary system in Beta Hydra, indeed had liquid water, I decided to make the little trip (a mere 22 light-years from home - and I say mere, because for the Halvras Drive, it was nothing to get here.)

The thing is, it was a one-way trip. But I only found this out after I got to the damn ball of water.

You see, the Halvras Jump Drive requires thulium, a rare-earth element needed to bring the jump drive to super power and thrust it into an artificial singularity created at the tip of the ship. Don't ask me to explain it, I just know they don't have any goddamn thulium on this planet. Not any I can access, anyway.

Oh, you're asking why I didn't bring extra thulium?

Good question. Except the answer is really quite simple: I wanted to save money.

Instead, I brought along recent technology's most advanced mining robot. The company even gives your mining robot a name. Mine's "Phred." Kinda cute, eh?

I thought I'd mine my way back home from this tri-starred system. Well, it only stands to reason that such a massive super-earth type planet would be rocky. Rocky equals rocks, and rocks equals thulium, no? I could even take back extra thulium from my mining excursion. It was great! Right?

Well, no.


Because this planet is covered in oceans fourteen to two-hundred fucking miles deep! My robot "Phred" only can go in oceans one to two miles deep. I thought this would have been fine, plenty of wiggle room. Besides, I thought most of the mining Mr. Phred would be doing would be on land, not underwater.

I had a little conversation with Phred about this. He's got an onboard conversation computer, see. I told him that he would have to strengthen his outer shell so he could mine below the water. He told me it was impossible. He said that he would be crushed, not only by the water pressure at such a depth, but the planet was so massive to begin with, that there was no way he could survive in those depths to even search for thulium. Survive? You're a robot, Phred. Buck up and get down there, I said. He refused. It's part of his programming to self-preserve his robotic "being."

Phuck you, Phred.

Now I'm stuck on this water world. I don't see Kevin Costner coming around the bend on a homemade boat, either.

In fact, there's no life here as far as I can see at all.

Just me, my ship ( bobbing like a cork on the alien sea...nice that some company's promises are true), and Phred the Phat ass lazy mining robot, phloating along on a world where I weigh 315 and there's no way to get home.

I can make it at least a year. The water's fresh, too. Maybe I'll try swimming. Maybe I'll push Phred off the ship. I could celebrate his downfall. Eh, better not. A year alone on the open sea can get pretty lonely. I bet Phred and I will be old buddies by then.

Too bad you can't teach mining robots how to play cribbage.

I'm sure someone else will come to GJ 667AB.

And maybe they'll bring extra thulium.


1 comment:

Kari said...

yeah, that horrible moment when you realize your stupidity caused you to kill yourself very, very slowly. Isn't there a story about a guy who went to Alaska on a hiking trip and had everything in place, except he forgot to hire someone to pick him up at his destination on the desired day--they found his diary or something. Maybe it's fiction, like this...nicely done.