THE AGE-OLD problem conquerors always face is how to win the hearts and minds of those they've conquered. In today's story, a would-be conqueror doesn't realize that this hearts and minds thing can go both ways . . .
By S. R. Algernon (Sean Green).
First appearance: Nature/Futures, 5 December 2013.
Illustration by JACEY (Jason Cook).
Reprints page (HERE).
Short short short story (1 page).
Online at Nature/Futures (HERE; PDF).
"How did they get access to galactic currency?"
Have you ever had one of those moments of introspection while you were in the middle of doing something where you couldn't be sure that what you were doing was your own idea or the result of somebody cleverly tricking you into it? Overseer Kleeg is about to have such a moment, but by the time he does, he really couldn't care less one way or the other . . . .
~ Overseer Kleeg:
"We've lost another mining platform."
~ Security Chief Vig’lah:
"Alas, the natives have used their proceeds to buy access to the interstellar net from the Communications Guild."
~ The Esteemed Denzel Gatez Starbuck:
"If you could provide us with 20,000 galactic credits for the equipment to recover the vault, we would gladly remit to you 50% of the riches within."
References and resources:
- "in exchange for one magnetic bottle of antimatter": Magnetic bottle: "A magnetic mirror, known as a magnetic trap (магнитный захват) in Russia and briefly as a pyrotron in the U.S., is a type of magnetic confinement device used in fusion power to trap high temperature plasma using magnetic fields. The mirror was one of the earliest major approaches to fusion power, along with the stellarator and z-pinch machines" (Wikipedia HERE). Antimatter: "In modern physics, antimatter is defined as matter that is composed of the antiparticles (or 'partners') of the corresponding particles of 'ordinary' matter. No macroscopic amount of antimatter has ever been assembled due to the extreme cost and difficulty of production and handling" (Wikipedia HERE).
"Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around 20 kHz to around 300 GHz. This is roughly between the upper limit of audio frequencies and the lower limit of infrared frequencies; these are the frequencies at which energy from an oscillating current can radiate off a conductor into space as radio waves" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "power for their tractor beams": "A tractor beam is a device with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance. The concept originates in fiction: the term was coined by E. E. Smith (an update of his earlier 'attractor beam') in his novel Spacehounds of IPC (1931). Since the 1990s, technology and research has laboured to make it a reality, and have had some success on a microscopic level. Less commonly, a similar beam that repels is called a pressor beam or repulsor beam. Gravity impulse and gravity propulsion beams are traditionally areas of research from fringe physics that coincide with the concepts of tractor and repulsor beams" (Wikipedia HERE).
"In 1999 Nature began publishing science fiction short stories. The brief 'vignettes' are printed in a series called 'Futures.' The stories appeared in 1999 and 2000, again in 2005 and 2006, and have appeared weekly since July 2007. Sister publication Nature Physics also printed stories in 2007 and 2008. In 2005, Nature was awarded the European Science Fiction Society's Best Publisher award for the 'Futures' series. One hundred of the Nature stories between 1999 and 2006 were published as the collection Futures from Nature in 2008. Another collection, Futures from Nature 2, was published in 2014" (Wikipedia HERE). "Non-fiction magazine which publishes one short story each issue as part of the 'Futures' series, which was originally projected as temporary: The first series ran from November 1999 to December 2000. The second series ran from January/February 2005 to December 2006 (A ten-part serialization ran from January to March 2005, the parts of which were only occasionally labelled as 'Futures'). The third series ran from July 2007 to October 17, 2019 after which it switched to on-line only" (ISFDb HERE).
- Previous stories by S. R. Algernon that we've highlighted on ONTOS:
. . . "VTE" (HERE)
. . . "Trading in Futures" (HERE)
. . . and "Murder at the Tesseract House" (HERE).