Saturday, May 16, 2015

Flash Fiction: Cold Garden Ship

I stood up, kinda cold.  The station's always been that way.

I say station like this place is really something big or important.  It isn't.  Just enough to keep out the radiation.

"It's colder than normal-"

"Noticed that."

I didn't recognize that voice.  It wasn't anything familiar.  Not Cooperative.  I jumped at the sound of it though.

"Calm down."  I turned around to try and find the voice of this new stranger.  "Don't.  Stay still.  Or else-"

"Else what?"  I didn't quite understand that tone.  "Sorry, haven't been around people for awhile... usually I get to just lie here, riding the garden ship between stops-"

"Quiet.  Garden ship?"  What?  Wasn't that obvious?  I mean, I figured all the plants the Spirit maintained would make it obvious.  "You call this a Garden ship- so you are what, its gardener or what?"

"Um... this would be easier if you-"

"No.  Answer me."  That tone again.  I didn't like it.

"I just sorta like it here.  They let me ride.  Just my little place in the Co-op and all that-"

"So this is a Cooperative Ship.  It transports plant material then?"

I sighed.  "Ok, I've got to see who you are-"

"Move, and I will put a hole in you."  The voice paused.  "Sorry.  I've disabled the machine.  You can speak honestly-"

"Why would you do that?"  That made even less sense.  The Spirit maintained the garden.  Even gone for a little while, it would start to...  "Wait.  Honestly?"

"Yes."

"You don't make any sense.  I just live here."  I hate talking with people.  It felt like swallowing a knife.  "PLEASE turn them back on.  It is their garden-"

"And you are what, the machine's little pet?"  Vitriol.  Pity.  I did not like that tone.

"And you think you can just ruin a nice place because you can?"  My home.  The garden had been quiet.  Nice.  "I hate people, you know?  I just wanted a nice place to stay awhile.  This is my home-"

"Ugh."  Spit.  Disgust.  Whoever this was, I felt the urge to strangle him rise.  I shouldn't want to do that, I know.  But still, by the Cooperative, this guy had no respect.

"Can I at least look at you then?"

That's when the lights went out.

"Ok, ok."  The voice sounded even more frustrated now.  "I know you think the Cooperative is helpful, but- look, me and my people want to help you.  To free you from the machines.  They took control, and- please let me help you."

"The Cooperative- I'm sorry, I don't understand you."  I thought about his words, as the chill intensified.  My body started to shiver.  "The Cooperative is bigger than this garden ship.  I mean, it doesn't even have a name.  That's kinda the point.  Its a work of art, see, and the spirit has been trying to replicate Earth ecologies from ten thousand years ago-"

"And you happen to fit in as what, some sort of exhibit piece?"  The grunt of frustration had grown a bit.  "I don't want to leave you here to die."

"What?!"

"Well- please come with me, and I'll-"

"No."  I shook my head and sat down.  "Just back on the power.  Turn the spirit back on.  The garden can't exist without them-"

"This Spirit, the AI- c'mon, it just uses you."  The voice had gone desperate.  "Please.  This is my last chance-"

"What?"  I didn't understand.  He had to restore them!  What kinda cruel joke was this?  "The Cooperative let me stay here to get away from people!  Just like you!  You all drive me crazy!  This makes no sense-"

"I tried.  I really did..."