Archive for category Flash Fiction

The Further Adventures of the Marines who Fight in Space

The Further Adventures of the Marines Who Fight in Space

DL Thurston

Lance Corporal Gunderson glanced around the enlisted mess of the SN Raptor, his new home for the next seven months en route to Pavel’s Planet. He’d only recently been activated from the Earth Marines and was still getting used to life on ship. Sure, gravity pulled down, but there was something different about the artificial field. Sure, there were stars out the window, but they had a rather distressing tendency to not stay in one place. He’d been through the eternal night of space in his training on Luna, but the stars, man. The stars.

The tables were self segregated, with the smaller Space Navy crew that ran the Raptor occupying a few tables and his new battalion filling the rest. He recognized the face of Private First Class Murphy at one of the tables. Space Private First Class, he corrected himself as he set down his tray of chipped beefite on toast.

“Gunderson you son of a bitch! Haven’t seen you since Omaha!”

“You never said you’d been mustered to the stars.”

“Three years ago. Saw action on New Panama.”

“New Panama? I saw the reports, that was some nasty shit.”

“Twice as bad on the inside. Not everything makes it into those reports. This your first trip out of the Earth System?”

“Yup. Thrilled to finally be a Space M–”

Murphy shushed him and waved his hands violently. The room took on a brief quiet, from all tables filled by the marine battalion eyes now stared at him.

“Did I say something wrong?”

“Almost. Didn’t they tell you that shit back in basic?”

“What shit? I got rushed through, needed some last minute additions to the Space M–”

“There you go again!” Murphy looked at the other tables. “It’s okay, he didn’t know. I’ll get that beat out of him.” Eyes turned back to their breakfasts, Gunderson could only be confused.

“What’s wrong with saying Sp–” he cut himself off that time. “What’s wrong with calling us what we are?”

“That ain’t what we are.”

“But look. Back on Earth we were in the Earth Marines. Those guys over there, the Raptor crew, they’re the Space Navy. So it’s only logical that we’re…you know.”

“But we ain’t. You got to get that through your fool head. We can’t call ourselves…that.”

“Why the hell not?”

“You know those Shopwork Games adventure weekends they got back on Earth? Take a bunch of amped up teens, bored business men, let them pretend to be something else for a weekend?”

“Did a few of those when I was a kid, we were fighting skeletons and trolls. What does that have to do with us not being Spa–”

“Because,” Murphy interrupted. Gunderson bristled. “They offered one where you got to pretend to go and fight an alien horde. As marines. In space. And they called them…” He trailed off, rolling his hands.

“That’s not a reason.”

“Of course it’s a reason.”

“Alright,” Gunderson rubbed the back of his neck, “it’s a reason. But it’s not a good reason.”

“It is to them. And it is to their lawyers.”

“But we’ve had marines in space since 2132 since Captain Brink mustered the first battalion. That’s 81 years. And this company has existed since…?”

“2375. But it doesn’t matter.”

“And they’ve used the phrase,” Murphy held up a finger, “yes, that phrase, since…?”


“So there were…marines in space for 55 years by then. Why the hell does anyone care?”

“Oh, man, they’ve got enforcers everywhere. Like you wouldn’t believe.”

“You’re talking bullshit.”

“I’m trying to help you muster in better.”

Gunderson didn’t answer. He put his fork down and stood away from the table.

“Don’t do it, man,” Murphy said, pulling on Gunderson’s sleeve.

Gunderson cleared his throat. “I’m proud to be part of this battalion,” he began. Eating came to a halt in both crews now, and all faces were on him. “I’m proud to be fighting for the human race. I’m proud to be a Space Ma–”

He was dead before he hit the ground. The enlisted mess now smelled of crackling ozone and cooked blood. Gunderson lay on the floor, a smoking hole in his back from the plasma discharge.

Murphy turned back to his chipped beefite. “I tried to tell the bastard.”

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An Excerpt

This is just a little silliness inspired by some tweets from Andrew Shaffer. I really have no other explanation.

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Flash Fiction: The Paradox

Getting a late jump on a Wendig challenge, but finally got my story in mind. This week the challenge is time travel, in any way shape or form. So let’s do this.

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Flash Fiction: The Wondering Chamber

Time for another Chuck Wendig challenge. This week it’s simple, write a story of up to 1000 words of less that starts with the sentence “The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.” Of course, I spent a good time mentally outlining a story that featured a wandering chamber. Let’s do this.

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Flash Fiction: Everyone Comes To Tiny’s

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken Chuck Wendig up on one of his challenges, so let’s get back into it.  This week, there are six settings to choose from.  Unlike last time he offered multiple settings, I’m NOT going to do all six.  Just picking one: Tiny’s Taco Hut.

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Flash Fiction: Escape from Io

This week Chuck Wendig has challenged us with pulp.

Crazy pulp shiznit.

Because it’s awesome.


Your task this week is to go apeshit.

To go moonbat.

To go cuh-razy with the over-the-top pulp weirdness.

Whatever that means to you — “pulp insanity” — just run with it. For up to 1000 words.

Perfect, this let me work out a few, uh, issues that I’ve had while listening to an audiobook version of A Princess of Mars.  So join interplanetary adventurer Jack Lincoln in his Escape From Io.

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Flash Fiction: Dinosaur Hall

This week the Chuck Wendig challenge celebrates the release of Dinocalypse Now with the theme of DINOSAURS!  It’s the typical 1000 word cap, must include dinosaurs in one way or another.  Check out the links others are putting up for their stories back at Terrible Minds.

And do check out The Memory Eater on Kickstarter.  Just over a week left, and we’ve still got a march ahead.

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Flash Fiction: Unknown Title

This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge is to click this link, which will generate five random military operation names, then to use one as the title of a story.  As I write this introduction, I’ve yet to hit that link.  Here we go, the results are:

Merciless Demon
Combusting Kafir
Wild Saber
Unindulgent Ogre
Cowboy Griffin

Wow. Um. So here we go I guess.  I’ve decided to cheat and use two.  If you like this or my other flash fiction stories, I have a longer story in the upcoming Memory Eater anthology, currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flash Fiction: Death and Bob

Getting back into the Chuck Wendig challenge after a week off.  Today’s theme, Death.

You have 1000 words to write a short story that prominently features death. What that means is up to you, of course. And genre is also in your court.

But a death — or the concept of death, or an exploration of death — must be front and center.

So without further ado, Death and Bob.

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Flash Fiction Week: Among The Trees

Deep breath, and exhale.  Welcome to day five of my five-day Flash Fiction week.  The last item on Chuck Wendig’s list of settings is a Fairy Tale Forest.  Of course, it’s Friday again, which means he has another challenge up.  Because he’s a sick twisted bastard that way.

No, you needn’t write fiction in which you lie to yourself, but you must write fiction in which the characters lie to one another. The deception is the thing, you see? Every story thrives on conflict same as yeast thrives on sugar and bears thrive on honey (provided it was first stuffed in the chest cavity of a fleeing park ranger). Your task today is to make the core conflict of the story based upon or orbiting around a terrible lie.

Alright.  Fairy Tale Forest.  A lie that drives the story.  Let’s journey Among the Trees.

Day One: First Times
Day Two: Ride the Time Vortex
Day Three: Finding a Way
Day Four: Above it All

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