Louise watched as the man across the table from her talked with his mouth full of over priced appetizers. They had met barely an hour ago and already she could tell this was going to be a long night.
“Sho thath why a thivalized thociety can never evolve.”
Louise looked at his dumb face and hoped she was doing an adequate job masking her distain. Though she couldn’t be sure, she felt certain there must be a special circle of hell for friends who set up pity dates for their supposed desperate friends. God forbid anyone would ever want to stay single. Still, life on a battle cruiser left you few options in the love department.
“Oh, well that…” Louise stopped and decided not to crush his spirit. The night was still young and there was plenty of time to send him off demoralized. “Is a good point you make there Mark.”
Mark smiled wide and proud displaying a plaque infested forest of spinach causing her to suppress a laugh.
“Did you always want to be an anthropologist?” She asked as she pushed her spinach away.
“Oh, yes. Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of one day flying through the stars and discovering new life.”
It was too much and Louise laughed. Mark blushed and looked down at his plate.
“Sorry, it’s just, well; don’t you think that was a little melodramatic?”
Mark took his napkin from his lap and wiped his mouth then folded it neatly next to his plate. He placed both hands on the table and leaned in. He looked left then right and did his best to talk only loud enough for her to hear.
“You know what, Louise. Have you ever stopped to think why no one wants to date you? It’s a small ship, ya know. You don’t think I’ve heard the rumors about you; how you’re such a bitch. I didn’t even want to come tonight, but I promised a friend I’d at least make an effort.” He slid his chair back from the table and stood up. “I used to feel sorry for you, because you always seemed alone, but now I feel sorry for you because you’re just a mean, selfish jerk who thinks she’s better than the rest of us. Well I have news for you. You’re no better than any of us Louise. No better at all.”
She sat in stunned silence as she watched Mark leave the dining hall. She came around just as he was about to walk out of ear shot. She called out to him before he left.
“Mark wait, please.”
Mark turned and waited as Louise walked toward him.
“First of all Mark, go frack yourself. I may not be better than anyone else, but you’re no Bruce Willis yourself there, mate. And if I’m so average then ask yourself this – who are you going to call when an Antarian battle fleet has jumped into our sector, fired an EMP and knocked out our nav. Computer? I know who you’re gonna call. Me. And do you know why? Because I’m the only one on the ship who knows Pi to 150 places past the decimal and I’m only the only one who can run a navigation formula in my frackin head. I’m the only one who can jump us out of danger without getting us lost in infinite space forever. Do you have any idea how hard that is? No, of course not. No one does. No one can, because no one else in the entire known race of Man can do what I do. So pardon the frack out of me if I don’t find your small talk interesting. I–”
Louise was unable to continue as she was hurled through the dining hall. The emergency lighting flicked on and bathed the dining hall in a faint orange glow. She watched through the flickering energy of the emergency force field as the back half of the ship floated away. She knew the fields didn’t come up on the derelict fuselage because she could see bodies being sucked out into the vacuum of space. She wondered which one was Mark.
Louise closed her eyes and tried to stand. She couldn’t move her legs. The force of the blast must have broken them. She heard the captain’s voice crack over the intercom. Something about all systems failed. No engines. All hands prepare to surrender. Louise tuned out the captain’s voice and accessed her self diagnostic screen. Servos in both legs were off-line. Antarians hate cyborgs. She would most likely be killed on site. She closed her eyes and waited for the boarding party to find and execute her. There was nothing – only 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841…
Author’s note: It’s good to be back doing #fridayflash. This week’s story is based on a prompt from the great writeanything [fiction]Friday challenge. I hope you liked this sad interstellar tale. Have a great week.
Holy switcheroo, Batman, you whipped me around about a dozen times with this one! Well done!
OH so great! I love the twisty-twist this one has too. Perfect
Interesting take on the bad date scenario. I loved it when things got heated up. I got a little confused when Louise became Mary, but I loved the cyborg twist.
Thanks Shelli. You should have gotten confused. How embarrassing. Mary is one of my placeholder names I use when sketching out stories. I guess I forgot to change them all to Louise. Thanks for catching it for me.
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A brainy story. My brain is dulled by work and lack of sleep. Twisty Chris!
I enjoyed reading this piece. I like the juxtaposition of the relationship issues with the seriousness of life on board a space ship. Once the ship is damaged, all of the dating issues seem so trivial.
The use of Pi to tie up the ending is a great choice. It’s haunting.
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Ah yes, the comfort found in Pi. You’ve got all the elements of space opera in this one from the profoundly personal to the Boy’s Own cosmic. Also, appreciated the use of “Frack” …. oh Battlestar how I miss you,
So glad you’re back to the flash! Enjoyed it so much. Poor Louise. Sometimes the small talk can be fun. . .
Frightening to know how and when one is going to die.
Nice twist – the great thing about it is that, after knowing it, my understanding of the rest of the dialogue/story changes. And I think that a cyborg finding solace in pi is a genius idea.
A pretzel has nothing on this piece of genius. And the last line is superb. Fantastic construction of this. Going to read it again for added frackness. Awesome.
Adam B @revhappiness
Glad you’re back Chris! Absolutely love the dialogue here, and, as others have said, that creepy ending. Hope you’re back to stay a while.
This was frackin’ fantastic! I loved the twists and turns in it.
I love the description in this piece ‘Mark smiled wide and proud displaying a plaque infested forest of spinach’ is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard 🙂
Oh love how differently your bad date scenario turned out!
Interesting take on the topic. I liked the twist to this story. There was a lot of irony in the end. Nice work.
I just love sci-fi stories and you pulled this one off wonderfully. Bonus points for the complexity.
Chris – I may not be a timely reader, but i always like to stop by and see what you’re up to! This is a terrific story – i love the turns that this story takes. I got a little bit confused by the action towards the end and i had to read it a couple of times. I think this sentence “Louise was unable to continue as she was hurled through the dining hall” threw me because i was focused on the ‘unable to continue’ part and not the ‘hurled’ part at first. Maybe making that action a little more clear and shocking, even, would help to sort of hurl the reader into that last gripping section. Love it – well done 🙂