Wednesday, May 31, 2023

“Power Limits” • by Kimberly Ann Smiley


The new FTL flagship was an engineering breakthrough. Serving on it during testing and space trials was a career making opportunity.

My daughter begged me to help get her the duty assignment, and she had never asked for anything.

But I’d reviewed the specs.

I filed reports non-stop, organized meetings, and pinged everyone important I knew, but the single star on my collar wasn’t enough to stop progress.

So I saved what I could. One call to an academy roommate kept my daughter off the ship.

The debris cloud was even bigger than I’d calculated.

Maybe now she’ll forgive me.


Kimberly Ann Smiley was born and raised in California, but now lives in Mississippi after an unexpected plot twist. She has several pieces of paper that claim she is a mechanical engineer and none that mention writing but has decided not to let the practical decisions made in her youth define the rest of her life. Her work has appeared both here and in Daily Science Fiction. In April “Preservation Reservation” was her second published story; we didn’t think to ask if she’s had anything else published between then and now.


This time The Pete Wood Challenge was to write a flash fiction story using the prompt, “nepotism.” To see the previous winners of previous challenges, click this link.

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