Anomaly Event Pts 1 & 2

A short story released as part of the Halloween21 challenge event.

The original stories can be found here: Anomaly Event | Part 1 & Anomaly Event | Part 2.

Part One

Miles of tremoring conveyor belts sway that way and this, innumerable islands of stark artificial light mark pockets of frantic activity throughout the cavernous gloom. Across the din of clanks, thunks and buzzing K’va is waving frantically.

“I’ve got one, I’ve got one! We’ve got another one!”, she strains.

Realising the futility, she reaches for the red button. With a satisfying click, a warm glow instantly reflects off her carapace. She focuses for a moment on the iridescence of her wiry arms under the light, her wide peripheral vision blurs and the background noise fades. Her muscles relax as she takes a deep breath in.

The rumble of CPC/S-44723 approaching soon bounces her out of whatever oasis of calm she had achieved though.

“You initiated your warning sequence protocol, CPC/W-K59019. Please state the reasons.” “We’ve got another one, another white crate. It happened the same as the others, I think.” “Thank you. Is this your first anomaly event, CPC/W-K59019?” “K’va, please, and yes. I’d only heard the stories before, I’ve never seen…” “Please complete form DfCP-404 immediately. I will secure the removal of the anomalous crate. I hope I don’t need to remind you of the non-disclosure protocols in place.” “No, of course not. I’m aware of the necessary Preparations protocols.”

CPC/S-44723 extends an enormous magnetised appendage from its equally enormous but slightly rusty and patched up torso. A whir and a clunk later and the munitions crate is being transported away through the warm soup of the factory’s charms.

Part Two

Jzk sighed a light smile. In front of them the rolling sea of green washes and crisps with the wind, and fades into the deep blue sky. Skyways of brown branches contort in and out of the restless expanse. Life buzzes and dances in the distance in front of two of the five Serran moons. This is Jzk’s favourite place to be.

“A hundred” “Eh… what?” “Rumours are there’s a hundred of them, one-zero-zero, you know!”

K’va plonks herself down at the table, almost spilling Jzk’s nectar juice all over the table, her fidgeting is so much that she is positively clicking with excitement. Jzk peers one eye through a translucent blue corner of their reading tablet at her.

“And you interrupt my peace for… ?”

Absorbing the hum of the canopy, nestled between intertwining creepers, branches and lianas, surrounded by pockets of brightly coloured epiphytes, K’va fiddles with the menu in front of her and takes a breath.

“I think I’ll have a warm cupuassu milk”, she says out loud before silently communicating it to the cafe owner perched higher in the overstory.

Jzk lifts their eyes off the reader once again and gives K’va a look, their eyes soften, and they put the reader down.

“You know, you’re not like many Brr’Tik I know.”

K’va is silent, her huge rounded eyes are somehow not focusing on anything. Jzk chuckles.

“Hmm?” “Exactly. You’re not like any Brr’Tik I know; doing shifts in that noisy factory, warm cupuassu milk on this glorious evening, and your attention span. My word, hs-hs, the other day, you almost fell out of the canopy. You’re so easily distracted.” “But…” “Don’t worry, it’s a good thing, being different and all.” Jzk said with a smile. “So, what were you going to tell me?”

K’va’s drink arrives at that moment, she takes a gulp and explains what had happened at the factory earlier that day. Jzk takes a moment to absorb it all before tilting their head inquisitively: one way, and the other.

“Where did the one hundred number come from?” “I don’t know, I heard other numbers the other day, it’s just rumours, but maybe it’s simply because there are more of them now.” “And we don’t know why they’re white, do we? I mean, they should just be gold or purple, right?” “Yeh, everything is normal, right until the last, and only then did I see the crate wasn’t correct. I don’t understand. For the crate to be different, the metadata has to be different, but that can’t be possible.” “Well, we now know that it is. But you’re right. It may seem far-fetched, but it’s perfectly rational to consider it like this.”

They both took a sip of their drinks in silence, and put them back down again.

“What do you want to do about it all?”, asks Jzk. “Well… we should go and find the crates, don’t you think?”, replies K’va.

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