Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Month: December, 2013

Vader’s resolution.

Crush Pitiful Rebellion.

Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra week ninety nine, “A Three-word resolution”;.


Father and Son

When people think about the Survey they always think Giant Cruisers and they do a lot of good work. But mostly we were tiny little ships with two-man crews, trying to visit every last system in the galaxy to see what’s there. It could be boring, but you could always find something.

The crews were organized in “Father/Son” pairs. The Father had the experience and commanded while the Son was fresh out of training.

Now; the Father/Son didn’t imply anything. They could just as easily be women and the same age but on my first flight my Father was over fifty compared to my barely twenty. His name was Kyle and he had been everywhere.

I was able to piece it from our scattered conversations. He wasn’t unfriendly but with the age-gap we couldn’t really gel. After six months, we only really talked on our final night.

We had stumbled upon a rogue planet and it was the most interesting thing that we had seen. Kyle figured better late than never and emerged with a bottle “Might as well celebrate”

“Never had the time” he confessed; the whiskey lubricating. “Only came close once. Must have been..oh twenty years ago. She was on Lagrange. Cassie was her name. I spent one night but had to leave the next day. When I came back she had left with a kid. It might have been mine. Never knew!”

I was too drunk to put two and two together then but I was able remember it. I never knew my father but my mother, Cassandra used to work in space. But then we were home and he was long gone.

I never could ask him. Kyle was killed by a radiation leak. I never told mom, she seemed unwilling to even mention my father when I was young. I liked the thought; my Father being my father. I remember his report. Said I was a good Son. Perhaps that was enough, I like to think it was.

Written for Trifecta Week One Hundred and Eight

Picture it and Write: The Lord’s Clock

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again; the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

The Lord’s Clock:

While very few of the rulers in my country’s tragic history could be considered “Good” the very worst of them would have to Lord Pavel The Cruel. He wasn’t just cruel, he was purely sadistic.

Lord Pavel’s cruelty had many forms, from the butchering of his parents to the public disemboweling of his opponents but by far the most visible form of his sadism had to be the clock in the great hall.

It had a huge face, twenty feet across that hung high up amongst the eaves of the hall. To see the time anywhere in the hall all you had to do was look up. But that wasn’t all for the clock  face was also the elaborate bottom of a giant cage with gold-lined bars that held Lord Pavel’s prize flock of vultures.

The workings of the clock were not in fact behind the face or even in the cage for that matter, they were high up in the tower above the hall. The great clockwork mechanism controlled a series of blades that would cut into some unfortunate causing a piece of him, or her, to fall down a chute and into the cage. It was that impact of a piece of human flesh and the vultures feeding that moved the hands of the clock and showed the time to those below.

Nobody had any illusions about the nature of the clock. Lord Pavel’s men had gotten very good at taking pieces off men without killing them. There were a series of vents in the castle that insured that the screams of the victim would be broadcast to everyone so the would know the clock was turning.

At times; Lord Pavel’s men had to be ingenious to find enough to keep the clock running, many small-time criminals or unfortunate innocents met their ends in the tower.

But the madness could not last forever. Offended by a child playing in a local village one morning Lord Pavel ordered her whole family captured and sent to the clock. Unfortunately for him the Child’s father was a childhood friend of the head of the palace guard and that was the last of a very long list of straws and Lord Pavel ended up feeding the clock that evening.

They set the clock to work at the slowest speed, he took hours to die but when he did and the vultures had feasted on what had remained, the birds were released and the clock left to stand at the final time it had held, half eight, right up to this very day. A reminder to all that if you treat others with cruelty, that cruelty will come back to you in the end.


5 AM


“Dear God! Who the hell bought Jim a drum-kit?”

“Uncle Freddy I think… Yes! It was him!”

“Oh! Of course it was! He knew he wasn’t going to be here!”


Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra Week Ninety-Eight



Picture it and Write: Sanctuary

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write from Ermila’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, enjoy!


In the fields and forests were I grew up, many birds overwinter in the cold snow-filled months. We would often go hunting them since they made a much needed addition to our dinner plates in the winter. We would travel from farm to farm in search of our quarry but no matter how many birds we saw there we never went onto Caleb Morris’ land, that place was forbidden.

Caleb had moved into his place some ten years before I was born. No one knew were he came from. He certainly never had any connection with the area. But people found that there was a certain menace about him that meant you did not want to ask him questions. It didn’t matter much though, he rarely left his land except for shopping once a week. He didn’t bother us and the rest of us knew enough to leave him alone.

There is always one though and one early January morning Young James Harris and Johnny O’Brien were out hunting when they saw a flock of birds in the sky over Caleb’s land. They knew it was his shopping day and they couldn’t resist trying to bag a couple for the pot.

They crossed the boundary fence and made there way through thick bushes towards the open field in the center of the property. When they finally made it to the edge of the field they were amazed by what they saw.

There were hundreds, no thousands of birds in the field. There were pigeons, crows, ducks, geese, many that they couldn’t identify. There was endless chatter, the field was full of life. Seeing that both James and Johnny grabbed their rifles, took aim, and fired.

There was a loud report and both could clearly see their bullets hit a bird each. But oddly none of the other birds scattered. Instead; they just stood there. James and Johnny were still puzzling over that when they saw movement at the edge of the field. It was Caleb; back from the town.

The two young men lay down, frozen, awaiting what would happen next. Caleb advanced across the snow, his white Labrador keeping pace behind him. As he walked the birds around him lifted off into the air in a wave of flapping that swept across the whole field.

With thousands of birds circling in the air, Caleb came to a stop in front of the spot where the two fallen birds lay. As if on some unspoken signal, the birds started to fall down on the two carcasses. They heaped down on they, every inch of snowy ground covered with birds. There they stood for what only could have been a few seconds but to the two watchers seemed like hours. Then Caleb raised his hands.

The birds began to rise again, every single one into the sky. Leaving; nothing.

Both young men were aghast. There wasn’t even a blood stain on the white snow. What had been two dead birds must have rejoined their brothers and sisters in the skies above. They looked at other then up into the air and finally right into the face of Caleb, looking straight at them.

They didn’t need to think twice. They fled without looking behind them. They ran until they were well out of Caleb’s land and safe back in their own houses.       

From then on. There was no mystery why the birds came in the winter. In Caleb’s land they found sanctuary. A haven from those who would try and kill them. A haven, from death itself.


The Lesson

The forge door opened and for a few seconds the cold wind fought with the hot air from the furnace. The blacksmith looked up, his eye catching errant snowflakes disintegrating in the heat of the fire as four figures in robes entered.

“Good morning Smith!” The old abbot called to the blacksmith “I trust your daughter is well. Are you working today?”

The blacksmith nodded respectfully. The monks from the monastery tended to go where they pleased but they were generous in lean times and the medicine within their walls was available to all comers, the abbot was free to do as he wished.

The three young novices looked around the forge. They were sons of wealth and at first derided how the abbot treated such places with reverence. Now they were silent, the abbot was pleased, they were learning.

He took a piece of iron and handed it to the novices “Here! Bend that.”

The novices were puzzled. “We can’t! It’s too strong!”

“Indeed it is.” The abbot said “But look here.” He took a horseshoe and moved it in his hand. “This is iron too, made useful. Watch Smith work.”

The blacksmith forced air through the glowing coals. There was a straight piece of iron in the flames and it was starting to glow. The abbot addressed his students again “See this, the heat is effecting the iron. Before like the iron you hold in your hand it was solid and inflexible.”

The blacksmith took the glowing metal from the coals and placed it on his anvil. Hammerblows rained down and the iron started to bend. “But now!” The abbot continued “The heat has made it melt. It can now be bent with a strong hand, into something more useful.”

“Like this iron.” He said “Life at the monastery, the hardships you must endure will melt your being and allow you to be melded into someone who can serve God, someone, something useful.”

He led them out. The lesson was over.


Written for Trifecta week one hundred and seven.

True Love


Steve held Jane’s hair as she vomited into the basin.

The curse of morning sickness.

Looking at her blonde hair he thought…

Call me myopic. But she still manages to dazzle me.


Written for trifecta’s trifextra week ninety-seven

Picture it and Write: The Father of the Nation

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway; Enjoy.

The Father of the Nation

Jack was disorientated as he climbed the ladder into the dazzling sunlight. The last thirty minutes had been hectic, with constant failure alarms and the sickening sight of his platoonmates decaying in their sleep-pods. He was disorientated and not entirely sure where he was. He had to find help.

He must have walked for at least twenty minutes before he found the farmhouse. He was exhausted but he was able to see a small child, a girl, playing in the garden and it gave him new-found strength. He staggered into the asked the girl “help me”.

She looked at him and her face turned from one of confusion to one of abject terror. She screamed and ran inside. Jack couldn’t follow, he was so tired that he collapsed onto the grass.

He woke with a blanket covering his body. He looked around but there was no movement except for a twitch in the curtains of the window. He didn’t know how long he had been out but he could see something in the distance. It was a black speck that expanded into a helicopter that landed in the field beside the house. Three soldiers came out and manhandled him without a word into the chopper and it rose back into the air.

They landed a short time later on a large base that was a hive of activity. Jack was bundled out and quickly thrown into a covered truck. They were well covered but he could see out. He saw hundreds of people out there but something troubled him. They were all women. In fact even the soldiers in the helicopter were all women. Where were the men?

The truck stopped and he was lead into what looked like a hospital. He passed ward after ward filled with female patients. The stopped at a door with restricted signs all over it. The door was opened and one of Jack’s guards pointed at a chair in the center of the darkened room. He walked over and sat down.

A door on the other side almost immediately opened and two women came through. One was a nurse who efficiently lifted Jack’s sleeve and took a blood sample. The other stayed quiet while the first worked. Jack had seen his fair share of important people and he knew that this one was in charge. The nurse hurried off quickly and the second woman started to speak.

“In case you are as dense I’d remembered men being I trust you’ve noticed the change in gender balance out there.” Jack thought for a second “There are really no men here?” He asked.

The woman smiled “Not here, not anywhere. Apart from you the last man I saw must have been a good… Twenty years ago and he was in a lot worse shape than you. It was a virus. Manmade, we think. Wiped you all out as far as we know. But we suspected that some of you might be hiding somewhere.”

Jack’s mind was so filled with possibilities that he saw no need in hiding any of his clandestine work “Project Iceman” He volunteered “Based out of Fort Braxton”

“Thanks!” She smiled again; she was really quite attractive. “We’ll check the records and maybe send a few girls to check it out. But what will we do with you?”

Jack was getting increasingly excited. He mind was filled with thoughts more at home in the mind of a thirteen year old. The woman continued to speak. “Obviously, the loss of men has presented some difficulties with regards to the perpetuation of the species. Thankfully there are vast reserves in sperm banks and our biotechnology has exploded in recent decades with us being able to use it more effectively than ever and to even bypass it completely with cloning and egg-melding and the like. But still; we could use a fresh supply, some fresh blood, if you will.”

“I only want to do my part.” Jack said, his face a wide, boyish grin. “I’m glad of that.” The woman grinned back. There was a buzz and she checked her cellphone . She made a resigned shrug. “We have no time to waste.”

As if from nowhere six hands grabbed jack from behind and held him in place on the chair. They might have been women’s and in some cases sporting perfect manicures and painted nails; but they were toned and athletic and Jack’s freshly revived body could not break free. The woman signalled and a number of doctors and nurses in full scrubs entered the room. They were pushed a cart with an array of specimen holders and a selection of mean-looking surgical devices.

“I wish you could help us the old fashioned way, I really do.” The woman said, she held her cellphone close to Jack’s face “But our tests show that the virus is already in your system and it is only a matter of time before there is nothing of you that is usable.”

It was only when one of the nurses had removed his trousers and shaved off his pubic hair that he realized what they were doing. He tried struggling more but it was no good, there was a sharp pinch and he started to feel numb.

“Look at the bright side. If this works and we save the germ cells then you will become the father to the whole nation, maybe even the whole world… Pity you won’t see it.”

Jack barely felt the scalpel go in.