Story Prompt.

Blatantly stolen from history. You guys can take this and run with it.

Scene: Badly outnumbered rebels/revolutionaries are hold up in a war for independence. Supplies are running low. The enemy commander has declared no quarter will be given. The commanding officer of the rebels has drawn the line in the sand and one by one, those present have stepped over, declaring their determination to fight to the death.

Setting: some time in the future

Now go! It’s up to you guys to write the story.

16 comments

  1. In the southern part of Texas
    In the town of San Antone
    There’s a fortress all in ruins that the weeds have overgrown
    .
    You may look in vain for crosses and you’ll never see a-one
    But sometimes between the setting and the rising of the sun
    You can hear a ghostly bugle
    As the men go marching by
    You can hear them as they answer
    To that roll call in the sky.
    .
    Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett, and a hundred eighty more
    Captain Dickinson, Jim Bowie
    Present and accounted for.
    .
    –Marty Robbins (The Ballad of the Alamo)

  2. Sigh.

    Dang it, Amanda. I didn’t need another story.

    Or did I?

    “All Hands” simply didn’t happen on a ship the size of the Gremlin. Her Captain had ordered it anyway. The dozen single person ship-to-ship real space infiltrators had been moved out of the narrow ship bay to cling to the exterior skin of the Gremlin. Insystem, the stealthing on the tiny ships would serve to make the Gremlin herself even less visible to enemy scans.

    The entire ship’s compliment clung to hand and foot holds over every bit of the ship bay surface, the floor and walls and ceiling. They were near enough inertial that the slight list leeward was something adjusted for subconsciously. All eyes tracked the movement of the Captain as he considered that list, attached a tether opposite the direction of force and let himself fall slowly to the center of the open bay. Those with a hand or foot on the structural ribs of the Gremlin felt the vibration and thump of the single person airlock cycle the last of the infiltrator jockeys back into the ship. Their Captain waited until that last member of his crew entered the bay and then cleared his throat.

    “Terms of surrender have been issued for citizens of the Bright Sun Empire.”

    Members of the crew stopped shifting. Perhaps they even stopped breathing. The profound silence stretched onward as the Captain let the statement hang in the air.

    Finally, someone among the company spoke.

    “And the created, sir?”

    “Genetically modified organisms are ordered to report for disposal.”

    This time the shifting of bodies and subvocal murmurs created a low hiss that filled the space. When someone spoke from the assembly the voice was young, closer to the training they’d all received and likely to hold to it more strongly than others.

    “It’s against doctrine to suicide. The investment in the created must not be wasted.”

    The next voice was older, rough and worn. The rasp of it was one that every man aboard knew. The created did not retire. They served until death of old age and even more than the Captain, the Gremlin belonged to this man.

    “Death in service is honorable if there is sufficient gain in exchange for that life. That is also doctrine.”

    The Captain rotated slowly on his tether so that his gaze passed over all of them. All of his men. He let them see his face, to see the hungry smile as it grew and then spread to the crew.

    “We’ve been ordered to die.” The Captain had no need to raise his voice. “We’ve been ordered to die. We will do so. I promise them all that. And I promise each of you. Every one of you that your deaths will be honorable and your names and deeds recorded as worthy among the created and as terror among the born.”

        1. Yep, and that dang prompt invited a plotbunny in. Now it’s sitting on my desk and tries to detract me from my Fantasy monster. Well, if it’s still there in the morning, I might surrender and try my hands at something SciFi-ish.

  3. “This was where they stood,” said Stephan.
    Adam nodded curtly. “This would be the best place.” After a minute, he added, “Still is.”
    They both stared at the box. Tiffany wished one of them would look out the window. They would have fits if she did, and that was wise; she could not be replaced in anyway. But she wanted to know.
    “Aha!” shouted Timothy, and she rolled her eyes. He came charging in, pushing a cart laden with an unusual awkward contrapation, even for him. He grinned. “You’ll want to stand back.”
    Tiffany’s eyes went up, but she pulled back with the rest. Jacob watched with narrowed eyes, and Candace with a pursed mouth. She wondered how either of them so much as imagined being able to know what Timothy was doing.
    An annoying hum sprang up, followed by a dome, opaque, filled with black and white flecks.
    “What was this?” Lenore looked into the room. “If he meant that for protection, he didn’t extend it far enough.”
    No need to tell us that, thought Tiffany, and then a searing bolt blasted into the next room, and struck Lenore in the back.
    Jacob and Stephan returned fire. Candace caught Lenore with invisible hands, and even in battle Tiffany still felt how odd that was, while running forward with her hands glowing green. Lenore’s burned flesh slowly restored itself to the raw state. Too slowly? wondered Tiffany. Was it only the gravity of the injuries, not that she was getting slower?

  4. Autumn Belfontaine knew something was wrong when the text came through for all non-essential personnel to assemble in the Shepardsport dining commons. Normally the commandant made major announcements during the supper hour, but this was mid-afternoon.

    All around her she could hear whispered speculation. Everyone knew there had been an accident aboard Luna Station, but some of the IT people had rumors of another incident, either on the Scott or in Low Earth Orbit. However, there could have been no question of filing a story until she had definite information until she had definite information.

    And it looked like it was coming now. In walked Reginald Waite, expression grim in that cold way that had given his ur-brother the nickname of “The Icy Commander.” The chatter ended at once, a few straggling murmurs quickly shushed.

    When he spoke, it was with the voice of a captain on the quarterdeck. “People of Shepardsport, today we bear witness to atrocity. You are aware of the explosion that destroyed Luna Station today at 1342 Central Daylight Time. It was no accident. There was an explosive charge in one of the shipping containers delivered on the Scott, and we have reason to believe it was intended for us.”

    Waite looked over the crowd, and Autumn had the sensation that he was looking directly at her. She felt very small and uncomfortable under the gaze of those big blue eyes, so like the father she’d known only from photographs. She’d never felt so awkward since she was a rookie reporter from the school newspaper at her very first press conference, wondering if she should ask the mayor of Minneapolis her question about pothole repair.

    Except this was most definitely not a press conference. Waite was here to tell everyone the situation, and if she had questions, she’d best hold onto them until afterward and ask him privately. And quite possibly clear her story with him before filing it.

    “However, the destruction of Luna Station was not the only criminal act to take place today. Earlier this morning the Space Shuttle Kitty Hawk lifted off from Pad 39C with fifteen passengers, all Expulsees from the NASA clone creche, to wait at Freedom Station until the Scott returned to Earth space to bring them here.”

    Only the discipline of reporting on horrific events enabled Autumn to listen and absorb the rest of Waite’s presentation. The question of how these youths could possibly be delivered to the lunar surface without a suitable waystation in lunar orbit, whether the oxygen budget of Freedom Station or the Scott could support fifteen additional people indefinitely. With Writs of Expulsion against them, there could be no question of returning them to Earth.

    On the surface, it appeared logical enough. Like everyone else up here, she was familiar with the constraints of life support systems. But it had all been done without asking anyone here at Shepardsport, or any of the other lunar settlements, what other arrangements could be made to transfer goods and personnel from the Scott to landers. Already the pilot-astronauts were tensing up, their emotional responses leaking through their military discipline. Yes, any one of them would’ve volunteered to fly the tricky direct rendezvous that had been practiced only on simulators, if it would save those kids’ lives.

    But they’d never been given the opportunity. The order had gone up, and neither commander nor pilot had questioned it. And they had not even paused to consider that their actions were being documented by multiple cameras aboard the orbiter, as they led each of the fifteen young men to the airlock on a pretext and thrust them out into vacuum to die.

    It was something you saw in old space opera movies, where space was treated like an ocean. Not something you expected to see through the helmet camera of a NASA spacesuit, with the interior of a Space Shuttle orbiter as background.

    Once again Waite paused, looked from one to another of the assembled settlers. When he spoke again, his voice was firm with resolution. “Today the Flannigan Administration has made it clear that it would prefer to see us all dead, that it regards the Constitution as nothing when it comes to the likes of us. I say that this cannot be tolerated, and it will not, so long as there is breath in my body. Who stands with me on this?”

    The ayes became a thunderous roar in the crowded volume of the Shepardsport dining commons. Autumn joined in, no longer caring that she was not actually a member of this community, that as a reporter she was supposed to remain objective.

  5. The only thing that came to mind:

    They’d run out of ammo. They’d affixed bayonets and were charging forward toward the roaring enraged horde when something odd happened – several of the enemy stumbled, then crashed headlong into the dirt, to be trampled and cause the fall of their comrades who were rushing up from behind them. There were screams of agony and surprise mixed in with the howls of bloodlust. Their frontlines were broken and confused – and then the men and women who had sworn to defend their land, their families, their way of life fell upon those who wanted to destroy all of that.

    It was a massacre. The only thing that the enemy had was a drug-and-fanaticism-fueled madness and frenzy to drive them to destroy; they had nothing to protect.

    Later, the leader of the resistance, only nicknamed ‘The Captain’ looked at the bodies of their slain foes as they were gathered in preparation for dumping into a mass grave. An odd number of them had deep slashes or knives embedded in their legs; the cause of the breaking of the frontline hours before.

    “Nobody ever looks below their eye level, you know.”

    The Captain barely managed to keep from screaming in startled alarm; he wasn’t able to keep from jumping away from the source of the voice, as it had come from behind and somewhat lower than he’d normally expect a voice.

    The woman was short, the same size as a child. The sclera of her eyes gleamed stark white against her skin. He couldn’t determine her skin color as it looked like she’d rolled in the dirt. Her hair was tight to her skull, thanks to a bandana that was the same hue as the rest of her – dirty, muddy and bloody. In her hands, she held long sharp filleting knives. A few other knives were stuck to a cloth belt wound around her waist – all of them would’ve been easily bought at any department store or grocery.

    The Captain put two and two together. One thing came to mind.

    “How did you manage not to get trampled?”

    She grinned. “Lucky, I guess. Not that I stayed long.” The little woman turned and walked away.

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