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Featured Stories, Week of January 21: "Harrington: Space Detective" and "Snippet"

Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at one of our meetings. For this week's featured stories, the group was given a list of professions and asked to come up with a character. Once they did some quick character development, they were told to write a story involving that character, but with a twist: Gender swap it. Here are two stories chosen from the bunch this week:

Harrington: Space Detective

By Erik Engman

“God dammit, Harrington, get your act together!”

Harrington turned her head just enough so her hair swirled defiantly in the Chief’s direction. How dare he blame her for the death of her partner? She wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger that sent a laser-bolt deep through his chest.

“My act is as together as a laser-bladed chainsaw juggler, Chief. I was right about Klaxton and his gang of thugs. If it wasn’t for me, dozens of workers would be floating out into space right now. If it wasn’t for me the anti-gravity combabulators wouldn’t be safe.”

“Your reckless behavior got your partner killed.”

“He doesn’t mind!”

Next to her was a robot who looked like he’s been patched up a few too many times.

“She is correct,” the robot calmly added. “I do not mind.”

“See?!” Pointed out Harrington.

“Of course,” the robot continued, “I am not programmed for such emotions.”

“Shut up, T-5-X!”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

The Chief sighed. “Harrington, you have now gotten your partner here destroyed sixteen times.”

“Seventeen,” corrected T-5-X.

“Seventeen?!” Exclaimed the Chief.

“Yeah,” said Harrington. “I was hoping you wouldn’t have found out about that one…”

“God dammit.”

“I don’t see what the big problem is, Chief. I get the job done. Yeah, maybe my partner blows up. Maybe some buildings occasionally explode. Maybe a princess or two goes missing. But, come on, is it really THAT bad?“


By Kate Weize

Liam slashed through the fine silk with his shears in a single stroke. He whipped it off the table and onto the dress form; the fabric flickered like pearly firelight, though he couldn’t stop to admire it now. He groped for a pincushion and whipped the pins into the seam, going as quickly as precision would allow. Shreds of orange fabric clung to Liam’s grey leggings, which had won out over jeans last night when he’d resigned himself to sleeping in the work room.

The old-fashioned clock on the table, half-buried under discarded muslin, ticked loudly in the back of his head as he worked. Four hours to go… no, three hours, fifty-five minutes, and he had yet to sew a single stitch. That diva of a costume designer had changed the color scheme for the background dancers again, the day before the first curtain call. Someone needed to remind him of small worldly details— like the laws of physics and what was humanly possible with a single tailor on a production of this scale.

“If you squint that hard you’ll give yourself wrinkles.” He started and turned to find Julia—tall, blonde, and fresh after her full night’s sleep—picking her way through the bolts of fabric and clustering of half-clothed busts, a coffee in one hand and his glasses in another.

“More wrinkles, you mean,” he muttered, stepping back from the silk long enough for a swig of coffee. He surveyed the drape of silk on the dress form with grim satisfaction. It was beautiful. It would take more than four hours—three hours and forty minutes. He’d need to grow an extra set of hands. “Señor De Tritio is going to age me by a decade.”

Julia leaned down to kiss him, then settled the glasses on his nose. Everything snapped into sharp focus, and Liam realized he had been squinting. He rubbed at his forehead, which throbbed from the sudden lack of tension.

“You’ll get it done,” she said. She tucked back a strand of hair that had worked loose from his thick black bun. “And they’re going to be stunning.”

Liam kissed her again and handed her the coffee. He rolled up the blue corduroy sleeves of his jacket with two brisk turns and picked up another handful of pins. “I know.”

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