Monday, June 13, 2022

“To Boldly Go” • by Carol Scheina


Destructi-droids were activated when first contact didn’t go well, yet Destroyer-1 still waited, dust forming webbed patterns over its dull black exterior.

How it wanted to slip across galaxies like the investi-droids. The Builders dispersed hundreds of them to meet and study new life while Destroyer-1 counted dust specks.

Destroyer-1 had waited its whole life to get out and blow up a planet. 

The day came when the Builders dusted off Destroyer-1, muttering about a shortage of investi-droids. They screwed lumps of sensors to its shell and sent Destroyer-1 on a trans- galactic hop to a planet called Earth. The instructions: Observe only. Maintain camouflage shield. Report back threats.

It wasn’t blowing up a planet, but at least it was out.

Destroyer-1 flew across blue skies, stretching its new sensors. Everywhere, it picked up video and audio waves. Curious, the droid streamed the signals onto its screen.

Thirty minutes into the “television show,” all sensors were diverted to stream more. Destroyer-1 binged 131 hours of a show depicting Earth’s lifeforms exploring new corners of space. The destructi-droid could skim across galaxies like investi-droids.

What’s more, it could go backward in time. It could visit an “office.”

The droid had just started a show with a sentient spaceship when the Builders sent a message: “Any threats?”

“No.” Destroyer-1 wanted to add that the technology here was fantastic but was cut off by a return order.

Destroyer-1 snagged a few supplies before traveling back into storage. It rather hoped never to return to Earth. What if it was asked to blow up the planet? That would not be optimal at all. After all, it was building its very own trans-galactic video streaming modification complete with high-definition screen. No more counting dust specks. New episodes were coming out on the next Earth Friday.


Carol Scheina is a deaf speculative fiction author whose work has appeared in an array of publications since her first professional-rate story was published in early 2020. That story, Once More With Feeling (Daily Science Fiction), featured a violinist coping with sudden hearing loss. 

Since then, she’s had other short stories and microfiction sales, including: Like Grandma Made (Bards and Sages), The Food Critic (Theme of Absence), The Pieces that Bind (On the Premises), The Midwife (Luna Station Quarterly), The Fruits of Sisterhood (Daily Science Fiction), Death Poems of the Folded Ones (Escape Pod Flash Fiction Contest), I Can Be a Hero Too (Daily Science Fiction), We Wait for a Better Future (The Arcanist), The Sweetest Things (All Worlds Wayfarer), Would You Like Fries With That? (Stupefying Stories), The Family Business (Stupefying Stories), Long-Distance Relationship (Stupefying Stories), and Just Like Before (Stupefying Stories). 

Carol also works as a writer/editor in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. In her career, she has won a Blue Pencil Award from the National Association of Government Communicators and a Silver Inkwell Award from the International Association of Business Communicators and was recognized as an Outstanding Department of Defense Disabled Employee of the Year in 2005. Carol has an amazing husband who is always willing to give her stories a second read and two fantastic kids with the best imaginations ever. She also lives with a tuxedo cat who likes to walk over the computer and mess everything up, but he’s cute so he can get away with it. She grew up in a magical spot in Virginia with a creek and a woods and plenty of scope for the imagination.



This month’s Pete Wood Challenge was to write a 200- to 300-word flash fiction SF/F story that plays off the idea of “Second Contact.”

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