WEP Member Instructions: December is the month of celebrations worldwide. For this challenge, we want you to give your favorite celebration a Science Fiction twist. This month’s judge is Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of the Cassa Series and Dragon of the Stars.
My apologies to WEP followers. The following piece is not exactly Christimassy or Science Fiction. More paranormal, metaphysical than anything else. I know, yes I’m suppose to write science fiction for this month but me and my muse couldn’t come up with a decent submission. So, if you choose to slide on by without reading my wee offering, I understand perfectly. Blessings, and Merry Christmas to all.
Excerpt from The Guardian’s Wildchild
Word Count 778 (critiques are not required)
Madame’s Dark Secret – Year 2039
In hushed voices the six scientists debated the lunacy of Madame’s claim. They were waiting for her in the basement of Admiral Garland’s Naval Base’s Administration Building. Two armed military personnel stood on guard outside the door. The walls were as grey as the sinking mood of the three men and three women who accepted the million dollar annual salary in exchange for an opportunity to resolve the planet’s energy crisis.
Some might have explained to the “ice woman” that they were unavailable. Then again, opportunities for research work since the Great Quake of 2020 were rare. Survival and rebuilding had taken precedents to research. Two scientists experienced with Madame revealed that to work for her meant both wealth and personal risk. You were hers to do with as she pleased until the project was successfully completed.
When she entered the room, they nodded and offered mumbled greetings. Madame ignored their approach and marched to the table. Two men dressed in dark suits shadowed her every move. With a swift stroke of her hand, Madame motioned for all to sit.
One refused. She stood fidgeting with her hands. “Madame, I have changed my mind. I would like to leave. Now, please.
Madame turned to the female and casually stepped toward her. In uncharacteristic softness, Madame said, “Of course, my dear. I appreciate your change of heart.” Madame stood in front of the female. What area was, er, is your expertise? So that we may find a replacement, you understand.”
“Ah, yes. You are Katherine Turner.” Madame patted the scientist’s arm. “Goodnight, my dear,” Madame said, placing a brief kiss on the scientist’s cheek. “Mr. Smith will obtain transportation for you.”
Miss Turner turned to the door, flushed almost as bright as the red lipstick stain on her face. As the door closed behind her, two scientists turned pale and glanced nervously at each other.
There was nothing soft about Madame. From her short grey hair and chiseled facial features, to her clenched fists and rigid stance she exuded self-control and master over all. Her feminine qualities were carefully cloaked. Pretty blue eyes were barely visible behind shaded lenses and her slim frame was concealed under a man’s black business suit. Speaking in her monotone voice, she reminded them of the requirement for strict confidentiality. They nodded. “Zero tolerance. Is that clear? Any breach of your silence will be fatal,” she said enunciating each word. She paused briefly. The men and women shifted in their chairs avoiding eye contact with her. “You have received the information package. Any questions?”
The scientist least experienced with Madame replied. “Yes, Madame. But, well, this is just a rumor, right? Quite bizarre, really. No evidence. At least that’s . . . ..”
Madame interrupted. “It is no rumor.” She smiled. “I personally witnessed the events,” she said in almost a whisper. Her gaze became fixed on a point out beyond the shadowed room, traveling to a jungle village in South America. “I saw primitive people perform miracles using crystals. Rumored to be a cult known as the Guardians. These sun crystals responded to the Guardians’ touch. Whatever was commanded materialized instantly. Perhaps a type of psychic connection.” Madame turned her back on the scientists, pausing as if trying to make sense of what she had seen. Glancing at each other, the scientists’ smirks betrayed a reluctance to indulge in the woman’s fantasy.
Suddenly she thrust her hand into her pant’s pocket and tossed a brilliant object into the air. Shards of light danced, illuminating the corners of the room. A rainbow of colors played on the faces of the startled scientists. Before it fell to the table, Madame grabbed it and displayed it in her open hand. “There you have it – the sun crystal.”
It was magnificent. A multifaceted blue green crystal encased within a clear crystal. She gazed into the gemstone. “It will power our machinery, grant unending summers, and transform water to wine. And you my dear scientist, with the assistance of Admiral Garland, are going to unleash the crystal’s power.” She paused and snorted. “Too bad that miserable tribe died with their secrets.” Tossing the crystal across the table she announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the kingdom of gods is within our grasp.”
* * * * *
One year later, on a cold Christmas evening, the scientists stood in breathless silence. Deep within the Admiral’s New Seattle Base their laboratory still glowed from the light that had emanated from the crystal. And the glass of water resting on the counter was now sweet red wine. Captain Butchart smiled and slipped away.