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Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
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Ken Orford

Science Fiction

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I wrote this story for one reason – to see if I could – I’ll let you be the judge of my success. Look up the lyrics to check how I did! I’m pretty sure it’s no literary masterpiece, but it was fun! Lucy in Sky Blue with Diamonds shows I was getting tired. Ken

Out of the corner of my eye I just caught Lucy trailing her hand in the water over the side of the boat.

“I really don’t think you ought to do that!” I smiled as she quickly jerked it out, “we really don’t know what might be living in these waters – and what they might find tasty.”

Bang on cue, there was a huge ripple twenty meters off the starboard bow of the little craft. The purple fin, attached to the dark green hump reminded me of one you’d find on one of Earth’s long dead Stegosauruses. I recalled one of our earlier missions when Lucy and I had been following a notorious time criminal, who had attempted to alter the future by assassinating Julius Caesar.  We had followed him to the late Jurassic, and we burst into a clearing and were confronted by a wall of dinosaur. In fact it was just one Stegosaurus. That had been fun!

But out here on Epsilon Indi 4, which some idiot had called Wayne’s World – I ask you - a dinosaur would have been a welcome reminder of home. This place was seriously weird. The sky, for one thing, looked like the kind of sky that would prompt your Granny to say “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight!” Except it wasn’t red, it had much more of an orange tint. Just after we landed, Lucy christened it a “Paddington” sky – after the bear that liked Marmalade.

The carbon monofilament hulled vessel slid effortlessly through the water, powered by the silent motor that had a micro black hole as its power source. I steered us a little closer to the shore so we could take it in.

“Hey Luce, just look at the size of those things! They must be 10 metres tall! I don’t think they can decide if they are trees or flowers.”

“Judging by the vivid colours, I’d go for flowers.” Lucy paused and looked around, then smiled at me:
 
“I think this is a good point to start the search. I smiled at her as she studied the shoreline with fierce concentration; this one really suited her. She was way slimmer of course, and the light blue jumpsuit showed her curves off perfectly. The straight brown hair looked lighter in the orange glow. She flicked it back effortlessly, pulled it together and snapped a tie around the resulting pony tail. Typical of her, the tie was a perfect match for the jumpsuit. I knew why the hair had gone back, and that she’d be leading the hunt.

“My turn for the search goggles” she said, snapping on the bulky headset. I looked over to her and knew she was seeing all kinds of information that would help us. But to me it looked like she had skiing goggles that had kaleidoscopes instead of lenses.

“Hey, you look even more handsome through these. And I like you being taller here.” A shrug and a “Yeah, yeah” was all I could respond.

The boat nudged the shore and I shut off the motor. The transparent greens and yellows of these giant flowery things contrasted sharply with the sky, they really were big – easily taller than a house.

“Hmm, I’m not getting any information about that end of the beach”, Lucy said, pointing left,”You go check it out, and I’ll start over here.”

“Yes sir, Commander Luce sir!” and with a mock salute, I set off. Lucy retorted by poking a finger down her throat and doing a mock vomit. I smiled, but clicked the safety off the plasma rifle in any case.

I’d barely gone 50 metres when the cry came: “Got a trace, let’s go!”, and she set off between the giant flower-tree things. Damn, she was at least a hundred metres ahead, and her true physical state meant nothing here. No sense in hanging about, I set off as fast as I could. The orange light changed dramatically as I plunged into the undergrowth along the narrow path after her. I love being able to run as fast as an Olympic sprinter and hardly get out of breath. The path was quite well worn, and I was glad it wasn’t wet – it could have been treacherous. Oops, spoke too soon – as I started to feel rain – but it wasn’t rain at all – it was warm, and the smell of sulphur permeated the air. The geyser was off to the right, and was only about 10 metres from the path – it spurted like a huge fountain, then stopped – only to start up again a few seconds later.

The bridge over the small stream that fed the geyser looked rickety and treacherous, but held my weight with ease. Then I saw her ahead. She was standing quite still and had her plasma rifle unslung and was getting ready to take aim. I quietly came up beside her, she looked around at me and smiled.

“They are really cute, aren’t they?”

The flock of Rockies was grazing on the fist sized fluffy white and pink flowers that grew in the clearing. For all the world, they looked like huge marshmallows.

“How many do we need?”

“A mating pair, plus we get a bonus if we get one of their offspring too.”

The flock started move and Lucy giggled at the way they moved. They really did look like little rocking horses. That reminded me, we should get a real rocking horse – but back to the matters in hand.

“Hey, we need to get some of the candy flossy marshmallowy things to replicate. Wouldn’t want them to starve on the way back and lose everything.”

Three rockies had separated from the group – a pair and a little one that didn’t seem to want to move far from its mum. As Luce raised the rifle, she turned to me and with an “Oh bugger, not now” she disappeared.

I hit the wrist control and instantly Wayne’s World dissolved and I was standing in our rec room. The Nintendo Wii Mark 9A was asking if we wanted to resume the game. But Luce was standing next to me, her trousers damp.

“You’d better get us a taxi quick, I think junior’s decided to interrupt the mission. Damn we’d have got a load of points for that!”

I looked at her in disbelief as I hit the rapid dial for the cab.  She went to change and grab her packed bag as I asked the cab firm to hurry.

It arrived in no time. It was one of those black cabs that isn’t black – but decorated as a mobile placard. This was advertising the Evening Standard. As we climbed into the back I noticed again how gorgeous she was, and smiled as she’d put on clothes that were the same sky blue she’d worn in the game. She grabbed my hand for reassurance, smiled nervously, and kissed me. I grinned back – the diamond earrings glinted in the streetlights. This was the start of the biggest adventure of our lives.


© Ken Orford, 2007



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