A whole world on a single page!
The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.
Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!
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“In order to continue seizing whatever planet they want,” the asteroid says, “your admirals need things. What is it they need?”
I shoo Jehrosi and Shiqui out of the classroom door and close it with a wssssh. Sounds of suckers adhering to the door pop lightly and I snicker inside at their attempt to listen in on teacher. Out the porthole behind my touch-screen desk, the asteroid revolves on its axis fast enough to be visible, like the speed of scudding clouds. It is larger than any moon I’ve seen. I cross back to the desk and type away at it, bringing a camera drone close enough to see the asteroid’s backside.
No arrays. No speakers. Just words coming into my ears through space and through the metal hull.
Crunching into a gala apple, I speak to the porthole and the asteroid through the sweet juice. “Shipbuilders, soldiers, engineers, weapons, pilots. How are you even talking to me and why—”
The asteroid speaks over me. “And who produces these things?”
I swallow another bite of apple. “First off, they’re not things. These are people. My students.”
“Am I a person to you?”
I frown at the telepathic—televerbal?—rock floating in space beyond my classroom porthole. “You look like a boulder, but you can talk. If something can talk, then I can understand it given enough time.”
The asteroid rotates at its own pace. “Giving a being time and getting to know it humanizes it.”
“Yeah, I’d agree.”
“I have not seen your admirals come into your classroom.”
I toss the core into the trash lock and it jettisons out into the blackness. “Maybe that’s because they’ve seen me talking with a space rock.”
“But you have gotten to know me and they have not gotten to know you. Or your students. Or their families. They dictate the things you teach, but do not personally interact with you unless you fail to produce the things they need.” With a groan, it adds, "They get rid of you if you do not give what they want."
The things they need. Thoughts dash around my head like kindergarteners playing tag. I breathe deep, a balm against the frightening light bulb that just went off in my mind. “Are you saying school exists to fuel the war machine and not the peace-making effort?”
“I would use the phrase, ‘over all else’ to end that sentence instead.”
I eye the door, wishing Jehrosi and Shiqui could hear this conversation through it. “So we’re allowed to be lured away from the right choices by quote-unquote ‘learning,’ and by a million seemingly-good choices of who to be when we grow up?”
The feeling that I’m the student now roars up in my chest.
The giant rock has turned far enough for me to see jagged, woody spires on its surface.
A sigh from the asteroid. “I miss growing apples so much.”