by Bob'n Around
How Marty and Emily saw the light.
|978 Word entry for February’s "The Science Fiction Short Story Contest"
“What you think, Doc?”
Marty Thomas, itinerant mechanic, fiddled with the pristine outer jeweled casing of the GE-782-01 Space Laser. “No residual charge or we’d both be fried.” He knew better than to start asking questions about where this job had come from. Out in the asteroid belt saints and sinners were equally mixed. Anything could happen and did.
“I’m paying you top price by the hour. I need this yesterday.” Emily Masters nibbled on her lower lip. The one thing the ‘Belt’ lacked was women, especially one’s not owned. Having this means of protection working meant safety as well as giving her a mining tool other’s lacked. “Darn thing has a mind of its own. The A.I. rig inside the laser wants to play light display artist instead of working at mining like it is told.”
“Got it. Covers off. Hold on. Let me do some testing.” Having her nervous and straining up close to see what he was doing was distracting. It felt like light years since he'd had an eligible young woman this close.
"Can I help?" Emily figured a little female flirting might help reduce the cost of the repair. Other more formally trained engineer's thought she was space crazy thinking her laser acted like it did.
Marty was a jack of all trades, a master of none. "Yeah. Hold these nodules apart." The test probe he fingered slipped, connected to the space between his eyes. Another wire puffed smoke as it struck the laser’s memory unit. Everything happened at once.
A rainbow aura of laser light pulsated and hovered around Marty. His eyes glowed with a flashing jewel like light. One moment he was Marty Thomas, the next his awareness was sucked into the device. The laser light faded and died.
“Doc? Are you all right?”
The words echoed inside Marty’s psyche, transformed into the pure energy of white light. Emily Masters had reached out to touch him when he’d connected with the laser. Now, both of their prime life force electrically charged energy and persona's lay trapped together inside.
“Let me think.” Spirals of fierce red and yellow fire like tendrils danced with each other around Marty’s still and silent body. “How do I get back?”
The intimate awareness of knowing Emily inside and out made cogitating alone a thing of the past.
“You’re not leaving me here, Doc.” A darkening gray cloud threatened to overwhelm every other hue.
With a burst of primordial energy, Marty expanded into a fireball flying rings of vivid rainbow colors around the small asteroid he’d been working on. The rings began revolving like those around the planet Saturn. They hummed, settling and attaching themselves together. The band spun faster, feeding off cosmic dust, star light and the near vacuum particles in the universe of space itself. “Got it.”
“Ooh, Doc. May I call you Marty?” Emily vibrated, blushed into ultraviolet and beyond. “You are so strong and powerful. I had no idea.”
“Me neither. Together, now. Push”. There was a tickling sensation where they met, mingled, becoming one creative driving force. The rock of the asteroid fissed to its inorganic core, releasing its precious metals, carbon residue and water vapor into neatly aligned bands revolving counter clockwise to the rainbow force field holding them captive within where the asteroid had been.
In the center of this mass glowed the laser, Marty and Emily’s bodies in a shiny bright bubble of their own. “You move me, Marty, like no-one has ever moved me before.”
“You’re not so bad, yourself, once I got to know you.” Marty felt more connected to the universe around him than was humanly possible. “I got things figured out on how this laser works. Partners, right?”
“In each and every way, Marty. We’re going to be rich, aren’t we?” Emily glowed a golden hue bright with pleasure as she settled back into her self. Mind tendrils gently caressed the figure of Marty as he came back into being, eyes flashing with pride.
“We’ll sell this treasure horde at the mining center. Beam them a smile, Emily.” The laser she now communed with obeyed her command. The couple, caught up in the new light they saw each other in, followed the transfer arching through the cosmos.
They appeared, holding hands, as they fed their find into empty storage bins and watched their earned credits mount up. It would be enough for a honeymoon on whatever moon they might choose.
“Thanks for fixing me up, Marty, dear, with your display of affection.” She felt radiant with new found love. The contract to work and live together felt warm where she settled it inside the laser’s memory bank.
Marty shared a light hearted hug, The universe was a larger place than he’d been aware of before connecting with Emily and her laser. Giving his all had paid off in more ways than one. “What’s that, Emily?”
She beamed a shy grin as she held up her wedding present, a small ball of organic compounds from the asteroid where they’d met. “Our bundle of joy, sweetheart. I know just the planet where it belongs where we’ll give a world new life.”
And so, Marty gave up his solitary existence servicing broken dreams and things in the asteroid belt. Emily’s shared plans of terraforming a far distant ball winging its way around its sun offered a more rewarding adventure.
The revolving rings of rainbow energy warn ‘hands off’ to tourists but they accept visitors to their pride and joy, now and then. Their children play rings around each other with all the energy kids like theirs possess. At the center of it all the laser holds a place of honor, its A.I. and memory component content to record the art that is the best mankind has to offer when forced to give that a chance.