Experiment #319

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 6

All three reporters quoted Mayor Brewins on his affection for the system and how it had increased his moral intuition. One of the three seemed unconvinced that the invention was real. The other two, though they seemed to believe in its existence, felt unsure about its implications.

Upon reading these reviews, several of the mayor’s constituents decided the contraption, if it existed at all, amounted to a form of mind control. At a town council meeting, … Read More

Experiment #318

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 5

Word soon got around that Jeremiah had “gone funny” or could “no longer keep track of his marbles,” but these speculations did not come from Amelia. Francis had been “dropping some eaves” near the door and heard everything. He was not a malicious man, even once Amelia had scorned him, but men who lack imagination tend to fear and envy those who have it. If Jeremiah fell into the camp without marbles, Francis did not … Read More

Experiment #317

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 4

Jeremiah went straight to his workshop and began to build. When customers showed up the next morning, he hadn’t stopped. Francis made some excuses for his employer and scheduled the customers for a week from Thursday. Jeremiah sometimes got into these building moods and, within a week, Francis was sure, he’d have gotten it out of his system. But a week from Thursday came and went without the display of any prototype or blueprint or … Read More

Experiment #316

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 3

“You’ve met my friend, Miss Valerie Fontaine, haven’t you?” Amelia asked. “She works across the street. According to her, Mr. Montclair fired all but one of his dishwashers.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that, but it’s Mr. Montclair’s restaurant. He paid for the machine. I can’t tell him what to do with it.”

“Miss Fontaine went on to say that the Olde Towne Diner next door and Frisco’s Saloon across the street have both fired all their dishwashers. … Read More

Experiment #315

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 2

As is typical with politicians, Mayor Brewins agreed with whichever constituent he was speaking to at the moment, and pledged his defense of their claim to the death. No headway could be made, and all three parties threatened to boycott the event.

To solve this problem, Jeremiah Brown built a giant Ferris wheel on top of the town square. He affixed three great platforms to the wheel so that they could be moved on and off … Read More

Experiment #314

The Cleverest Contraption of Jeremiah Brown Part 1

The famed young inventor, Jeremiah Brown, got up on stage at Stapleton’s theatre to display his newest invention: an automatic conscience. A breathless moment followed where the standing-room-only crowd stared at what seemed to be an empty table. One confused little boy in the crowd called out, “There’s nothing there, Mommy!”

The crowd burst into laughter.

***

As problems came up among the various people in his town, a teenaged Jeremiah Brown began to invent solutions. As he … Read More

Experiment #308

Sacrifice

From deep in the cave, a belch reverberated. Klon adjusted his grip on the spear and walked toward it. He sprinkled forma root behind him. Its red, psychic resonance clear in his mind. He’d volunteered for the sacrifice. His brother, Klar, who hadn’t volunteered, never returned.

Klon rounded a corner and found the monster. It belched again. A bloody shred of ceremonial robes landed in front of Klon as a toxic miasma blew over him. His eyes burned. The world … Read More

Experiment #307

The Well Laid Plans of Dogs & Cats

A tenuous peace had reigned in the Smith household when Skittles yawned and said, “They love us more.”

“Nonsense,” Duke replied.

Skittles pointed to the immaculate cat tree and the overflowing cat feeder, then to the dirty dog bed and the empty dog dishes.

Duke growled. “We’ll see.”

The dogs, Roscoe and Duke, worked their puppy dog eyes and wagged their tails.

The cats, Skittles and Pinklionlady, ignored everyone.

The dogs didn’t want to just win; they wanted to destroy the … Read More

Experiment #306

Two-Bit Town Part 8

With Keel’s help they shut off the M-coder. Rille wanted to destroy it, but Gideon stopped her. “We get you out and then we turn it back on.”

“Why?”

“Because these people can’t handle another attack.”

“You think an M-coder will solve their issue, marking my kind so they can be hunted?”

“No, but if you take a shepherd’s bullets away without telling him, what’s he supposed to do when the wolf comes?”

“So, you don’t take his bullets away? … Read More

Experiment #305

Two-Bit Town Part 7

“Awe Flarky Flarktown.” Rille said. She ran down the shaft, hoping Gideon was still in there. A few hundred feet down the shaft she came to a set of guards standing outside a makeshift room. One with metal bars on the door’s window. She screamed and leapt at them as soon as she saw them. Her skin burned a fiery red as she landed and knocked both out with a punch each.

She yanked off the … Read More

Experiment #304

Two-Bit Town Part 6

That night Rille found Gideon’s room empty so she staked out the bank on her own.

When morning came and he still wasn’t there, she made s few calls to her less than legitimate contacts and learned he’d been taken to an old mine twenty miles outside of town. She got on Gideon’s Morse and set out for the location.

The area surrounding the town was one large rolling pile of rocks and boulders. The Morse was … Read More

Experiment #303

Two-Bit Town Part 5

They staked out the bank again that evening and the next without anything useful. On the third night Gideon sent Rille to the other side of the bank to have a different view. Gideon wondered if he’d misheard the code, till on the fourth night someone put a knife to his neck.

“What are you doing here?” A voice asked.

“Well,” Gideon said, “I’m trying to prevent a robbery.” He grabbed the attacker’s arm and rolled forward, … Read More

Experiment #302

Two-Bit Town Part 4

Gideon woke at the knock on the door.

He pulled on his pants and tucked in his shirt. “Coming,” he growled.

He opened the door to see Rille in a revealing dress and leaning coquettishly again the door jamb. “Hello,” she said.

“Come back when you want to talk,” Gideon said and swung the door shut.

Rille pounded on the door. “Open up.”

Gideon opened the door again.

Rille pushed past him in a huff and sat on the bed.

Gideon turned, … Read More

Experiment #301

Two-Bit Town Part 3

That evening Gideon rode down Main Street and out of town on his Morse. He missed his Falsparian anti-grav bikes, but he’d lost both in the scuffle the former sheriff had referenced. And getting a new one from the central colonies would take more credits than he could legally get his hands on. Thus, he was stuck with the loaner Morse.

After nightfall, he returned to town with his Morse on silent. He stashed his Morse … Read More

Experiment #300

Two-Bit Town Part 2

Gideon asked around town about a translator, but the former Sheriff Rodgers was the main one. There were others, but no one willing to help an outsider. No one spoke to the undertaker, or any undertaker unless they had to. Burying bodies was all it took to be an undertaker. Funerals weren’t much more than a few words and a prayer supplied by the bereaved. When there were no bereaved it didn’t much matter what … Read More