Trial by Engine Failure

In the future, to pass college you no longer must pass written finals. Instead, you are simply dropped into a real life scenario related to your major, and left to fend for yourself with your new found knowledge.

Star Wars, by George R. R. Lucas

Write me the original Star Wars movie story, only you are George R.R. Martin.

Author’s note: I’m not very familiar with the expanded universe or with concepts like grey Jedi, so forgive me if I get some nuances wrong.

Star Wars

By George R. R. Lucas

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

My mind fogged over. It was hard to think. Only one set of words came easily, struggled to escape, a concept that wanted to take root and grow. “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”

And it was true. They couldn’t be. I knew something was wrong, but this one concept, this central idea took root in my understanding of the world, fit itself to the core of who I was like a puzzle piece. To remove it would be to leave a hole in my soul.

“He can go about his business.”

This pressure was tied to the first concept, already firmly rooted, and grew. I fought it, and I struggled. My blaster rose, slowly, sweat dripping into the inside of my helmet. The old man in front of me frowned, and intensified his gaze. I could feel my mind being crushed by the growing roots of his influence. “They can . . . go about their business.”

“Move along.”

“Move . . . move . . . ” As I struggled, the blaster fell out of my hand, and I bent to pick it up. For a moment, I held it in my hands. It wasn’t the grip by which you held a weapon, I was just retrieving it from the ground, but I was aware of the direction it was pointing.

He’d already won, of course. He had dismissed be from his attention. I didn’t have to break free, not really. Just pull the trigger. But the grip on my mind forbade it, forbade it so thoroughly that I forgot I even wanted to do it. I didn’t need to pull the trigger on a gun. It was just a lever. I needed to operate a lever, didn’t matter why, just operate the machinery.

The blaster fired, leaping out of my hands with the recoil. The pressure strangling my mind was gone. The old man lay dead in his seat, and I cried out for help. “Stop them! The old man was Jedi!” The speeder’s repulsors started up, and I adjusted my grip on my blaster, firing through a repulsor on the side. They all shut down immediately to keep the vehicle from flipping over.  The boy tried to make a run for it, and I shouldered my rifle, shooting him through the calf.  He bled and cried, until a trooper knocked him out.

We searched them, of course, and found no weapons. So the official report said. At home that night, I turned the light saber around in my hand, listening to the blade hum. I wasn’t proud of what I did; I had killed a Jedi and his protege. He had probably wanted the same thing I did. But I had known going in that serving light would require an occasional foray into darkness. It was just a part of what it meant to be gray.

I clicked the light saber off and watched the blade collapse. At least the death had served a purpose. I was getting a promotion, a transfer. I would be that much closer to Vader and the Emperor. And now, when I made my move to kill them, I would have a proper weapon for a wielder of the Force.

Intimate Moments

When you make eye contact with someone who’s death is near, their life flashes before your eyes.


I walked into the metal room, and the steel door swung shut behind me. The voice was raw, exhausted, accented, muffled beneath a black bag over his head.

“Who is there?”

In silence, I walked to the single chair as the door locked, and locked, and locked again. My shoes clicked on the floor as I circled him. His shirt was bloodied, torn. The bloodstains were pale pink, evidence that they had tried waterboarding, too.  His teeth and nails were unmarred, but if they’d had time to exhaust every avenue, they wouldn’t have called me. Continue reading “Intimate Moments”

Shooting Stars

You live in a world where you have three names printed on your wrist – your one true friend, one true love, and one true enemy. But only one name is printed on your wrist.

Hammer and Blade

In the year 2017, all guns stopped functioning. Any ranged weapons much more advanced than crossbows simply fall apart upon completion. 200 years later nothing has changed. Describe the arsenal of the futuristic knight, and what a battle might look like.


An editorial note: This is going to get a little technical. I focused on the arsenal, not the battle, not adhering strictly to the prompt.  There’s little story here, except the story of a craftsman excelling in his field. This is my indulgence in engineering weirdness.

Some people will enjoy that – others will find this entry mired in useless detail. Both of these readers would be correct.

The Hammer

I turned the last screw again until the seam vanished and the chamber was sealed. I picked up the empty magazine and began loading cartridges in. The explosive charge was a little more intense than the guns of ages past would be. The chamber of this weapon was robust enough to withstand it. Instead of a bullet, each cartridge was merely crimped to contain the charge. Finally, I loaded the last cartridge and slid the magazine into the port. It slid into a slot carved into the back of the hammer until the back and bottom of the magazine laid flush. I pulled the slide on the top of the warhammer back, chambering the first round.

Continue reading “Hammer and Blade”

The Day I Died

Write your superhero origin story.


It was an ordinary day, other than the explosion. I ground through the paperwork, filling office supplies and costs into each line. I entered manufacturer information and item numbers.  I checked little boxes.  It was a commercial supplier.  It was under contract.  It was a green purchase.  I submitted the paperwork to our financial officer, I got it back.  I submitted it our authorizing official, I got it back. Finally, I logged into a website and bought six hundred boxes of paper clips.

Then the bomb went off.

Continue reading “The Day I Died”