James examined the tiny grasshopper factory under the magnifying glass. It was several orders of magnitude larger than its nanobot builders, a naked-eye object.
“It’s beautiful,” breathed Sid.
The drone was a factory robot for making more nanobots. It was the aircraft carrier, in relation to the swarm of tiny ‘bot “planes.” It was home base, resource storage, production facility, mass transport, communications hub—and dozens of other functions.
Under the lamp, it refracted that light in a way that was astonishingly pretty (considering its industrial design). The drone included a great deal of synthetic emerald in its communications arrays, for lasers in a frequency range useful to interacting with the nanobots.
“It’s an elegant little bug; and self-replicating, as long as it has a sufficient source of raw materials,” said James. “It will make its own nanobots, and ‘child’ factories.”
“The code’s solid, as long as your engineering’s good. I can’t wait to see it work, fire it up?”
“Sure.” James pressed “Enter” on his keyboard.
For just one moment, the results were anticlimactic. Then the emerald bug leaped to Sid’s watch, and a swarm of invisible mites began to break it down into crystals, metals, and other raw materials.
The resultant Viridian Plague very nearly exterminated humankind on Earth. The Age of the Machines began at the watch’s last tick.
This is Chloe. If you follow horse racing at all, you’ve probably heard of Chloellante of Samothrace. She had fifteen first-place wins in a single season, and naturally attracted a lot of media coverage.
The media enjoys painting us as demons, a “threat to the noble sport.” At the end of our first winning season, the authorities passed regulations and closed the loophole, to make sure Chloe would never race again.
We took advantage an omission in the rules. The rulebooks of thoroughbred racing never explicitly limited the field to members of the species Equus ferus caballus (domestic horses).
In theory, you could enter a thoroughbred horse race with a Plains zebra, or a European ass, or any of dozens of other branches of the family Equus. No one ever has because few of those sub-species are fully domesticated (and most aren’t terribly fast). You can’t blame the rule-writers for having a blind spot, who would want to enter a donkey in a horse race?
I’m sorry Chloe is so much faster than their finest horses. How could they predict a Pegasus would dominate their sport?
Next year, I’m going to try Cerberus in a greyhound race.
Morty needed a better press agent. That stupid poem kept appearing in reprint after reprint, no matter how many letters he submitted to editors, or his frequent pleading with his solicitors for a cease-and-desist order.
“I’ve never whiffled or burbled in my life. For damn sure there aren’t any beamish boys toting my head anywhere, with or without flaming eye sockets. How is a jabberwocky supposed to clear his tulgey woods of the snicker-snack of vorpal swords?”
“Ludicrous,” replied Claude, “As silly as creating your own adjectives. ‘Frumious,’ my frabjous arse. We should’ve sued the pants off that guy clear back in the nineteenth century.” The Bandersnatch popped a cold one for the Jubjub bird.
“Could be worse, how large a behind would you need to make a proper galumph?” Ernie was philosophical about the whole thing. “At least you’re maxome, Morty.”
“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” Morty replied sardonically. He sharpened his teeth on a nearby Tumtum tree, but his heart wasn’t in it.
“Whatever happened to that Carroll kid, anyway?”
“I heard he got himself gimbled by a hunting Snark.”
Claude mimsied considerably at that thought and cried, “Brew me,” slything his claws to snatch.
I used to pilot that boat, the Maid of the Mist. Lots of tourists in attractive plastic sacks, lots of happy newlyweds drenched to the bone. It was actually a fun job, except for the Coast Guard cutters.
See, they don’t want you getting too close. The tightrope walks don’t happen upstream any more. No one goes over in barrels these days. Insurance companies, fear of litigation. The marrow has been sucked out of the Falls, really. People with cojones can’t be allowed to make a buck here, not any more.
While I’m stuck here at the bottom, at least the Coast Guard lets boats get fairly (and I emphasize fairly) close to the base. Which is all I need. I’ve got something planned that the lawyers haven’t fortified defenses against yet.
Me and my showy barrel are gonna go up the Falls. At dusk, lights on and glowing like a Christmas Tree, just before the last of the news-and-tourist-cams pack things up to go home. I’ll turn it into a lucrative memoir after they arrest me hovering over the falls. All thanks to this nifty portable gravity polarizer I lifted from the M.I.T. physics lab.
Captain Levasseur was pleased with his vessel rolling out of drydock. His crew would be eager to begin plundering the Main at once, and the “Arabella” would be perfect.
She was a three-masted barquentine, fitted with a square foremast and mizzen rigged fore-and-aft. A beautiful ship, and with proper rigging and supply she’d be much faster than the slow moving Spanish vessels. And with her crew of ninety and eight-pound guns, she would be more than a match for any lightly armed merchantman.
Except— It would be difficult to scourge the seas from inside this bottle.
Incidentally–In the real WWI–LZ 38 also attacked Dover and Ramsgate on 16–17 May, before returning to bomb Southend on 26–27 May. These four raids killed six people and injured six, causing property damage estimated at £16,898.
Timmy was a young red dragon, one of a clutch of a dozen siblings born of the same batch of eggs. Timmy was the smallest and meekest, the runt of the litter.
As his siblings grew in confidence and power, they learned to fly and to flame, ravage and destroy. But Timmy could not breathe flame, only smoke. His brothers and sisters teased him about this quite a lot.
“You will never amount to anything,” they would say, “for what kind of use is a dragon without fire?”
One day, Timmy began to grow furious from the teasing, and so he huffed and he puffed, and he filled the land with gray. Everywhere his smoke touched, all of the color was leeched away, forever. No color in the trees, or in the sky. No color in the grass, or the waves. No color in his brothers or his sisters, and one by one they each faded away.
Realizing the he was the only color left in the whole wide world, Timmy began to feel quite sad. For now—even though there was no one to tease or make fun of him, there was also no one to love or care for him.
And so with a deep sigh, Timmy began to breathe smoke harder than ever before. He huffed and puffed and smoked and fumed, and the gray smoke swirled around and around him.
Like a white cow giving milk in a snowstorm, Timmy disappeared.