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The Person Who Puts Down the Keys by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys

by DeAnna Knippling
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Page 3

Chuck brought out the beers in pint glasses, a good head on both, the way Tom liked them. Tom’s slopped a little over the side. He caught the foam and sucked it off his forefinger, then picked up the beer and drank the top half of it. He pulled the foam off his upper lip with his lower lip, smacking them together twice, then put the beer down and nodded at Chuck.

“I’ll have it right out.” He brushed his hands off on his green apron and went back to the front door, sat down, started folding.

“I’m getting backed up, of course,” Tom said. “It doesn’t really matter who I change into. I won’t be anywhere or any when near the people I know. And then, after the five years are up, I’ll get plastic surgery or whatever I need so I look like myself again, then get my memories uploaded. I’ll be right back where I left off. I’ll sit up from that table like nothing’s happened. It’ll be hundreds, maybe even thousands of years later. I might even end up on a different planet. But I’ll still be me…”


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About the Author

DeAnna Knippling

DeAnna Knippling is a freelance writer and editor in Colorado Springs. Her first book, Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse was released in November 2010 by Doom Press. She has recently published in Three-Lobed Burning Eye, Silverthought Online, Crossed Genres and Nil Desperandum. She was also honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year, Volume 3.

Story Discussion

Stories by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys by DeAnna Knippling

The Person Who Puts Down the Keys

FTL pilots were a rare breed. They traveled the galaxy faster than light. Faster than it was possible to go. Strange things happened to them. They changed.

People who signed up were people with a death wish, or people with long-term ambitions. The desire to see one era disappear and be replaced by something else. At first, he’d thought he was one of the second kind.

What will Tom actually find when he returns? Find out in this new story by DeAnna Knippling.

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Last Hope of the Roadkill by DeAnna Knippling

Last Hope of the Roadkill

Two co-workers, an isolated Colorado highway, and something from out of this world.

I just could not believe it at first, that she could have slept through a car crash, let alone walking into a patch of pine brush. I took her by the shoulders and kind of steered her out of the brush. I had to push her a little bit to get her to head back to the car and get her sitting down again. I tried to belt her up, but she was swinging her arms around still, and after a couple of tries I have to admit I got so tired of getting hit in the face that I gave up on it.

Then I sat down, crossed my fingers, and tried to start the car.

The engine turned over once, then stopped.

Let me tell you, my heart just about stopped, too. After almost being hit by that semi, I wasn’t looking forward to flagging one down. I could have dug Marge’s cell phone out of her purse, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing that, either, seeing as it was down between her feet on the floor.

I felt myself tear up and start to cry.

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The robot Robot by Rhys Griffiths

The robot Robot

This sparked an activation in Robot’s GuardDog protocols, and it seized Mr. Rekubak, pinning his arm behind his back. When the conflict had dissolved and Mr. Rekubak’s heart rate had dropped, Robot let go. Mr. Rekubak took this as his cue to spin around and punch Robot in the face. Normally, a human being would find it nigh on impossible to damage a robot barehanded, due to their inferior strength and general ignorance of robotic functions, so Robot allowed the blow to his him square on. There was a loud noise, which Robot assumed was the bones in Mr. Rekubak’s hand.

From the corner of its vision, Robot saw an analog signal creeping inwards. Images of Mr. Rekubak nursing his fist and of Michelle crying disappeared behind a veil of zeros and ones.

What happens to Robot? Find out in this new story from Rhys Griffiths!

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In The Shadow of the Watch by Barbara E. Walton

In the Shadow of the Watch

Alitza scrambled backward until she hit a barrel then pulled herself up on it, trying to keep her feet on the wet and thrashing deck. The serpent caught her movement and turned its head toward her, baring its teeth. Its neck was narrow and writhing, its claws lashing at the ship.

“Alitza!” someone yelled. She couldn’t have responded if she’d wanted to, and didn’t try…

Will Alitza survive? Will she earn one of the coveted Apprenticeships? Find out in this new original fantasy story by Barbara E. Walton, author of Quantum Leap: Odyssey.

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The Flight of the HANS PFALL by Stephen R. Wilk

The Flight of the Hans Pfall

“The Launch Site is five miles downrange,” explained the officer. “You can follow the liftoff in more detail in the monitor booth to the right, but most people just prefer to look through the observation window. The glass absorbs both the launch laser and the alignment laser wavelengths, so you don’t have to worry about stray reflections. Is this your first visit to Kantrowitz, Mr. Gold?”

“Yes,” said the older man, abstractedly, as he craned his neck to look around. “I’ve been to the complexes in Colorado and Nepal several times, but I haven’t had a chance to come down here until now.”

“Are you familiar with the Launch Process, then?”

“Well, why don’t you go over it for me.”

“Okay. You have a Payload in today’s pipeline, I understand. Do you remember your code number? Or… What’s the company name?”

“Gold Technologies—a very original name. I think the code is KL-55.”

The lieutenant quickly manipulated the touchmonitor. “That’s going up in just over two hours. By now your payload has been encapsulated in a Cone and set on its own Frustrum. It will be moving through the Pipe, waiting for its turn on the Pad. We use ordinary water ice for the Frustra, with a special mix of alkali salts and filaments to act as initiator sites for the Laser Sustained Detonation Wave. Before we switched to water ice we used plastics and gels, and we fielded a lot of complains about upper-air pollution from the U.N. and the Ecuadoran Ministeria.”

Read More
Last Hope of the Roadkill by DeAnna Knippling

Last Hope of the Roadkill

Two co-workers, an isolated Colorado highway, and something from out of this world.

I just could not believe it at first, that she could have slept through a car crash, let alone walking into a patch of pine brush. I took her by the shoulders and kind of steered her out of the brush. I had to push her a little bit to get her to head back to the car and get her sitting down again. I tried to belt her up, but she was swinging her arms around still, and after a couple of tries I have to admit I got so tired of getting hit in the face that I gave up on it.

Then I sat down, crossed my fingers, and tried to start the car.

The engine turned over once, then stopped.

Let me tell you, my heart just about stopped, too. After almost being hit by that semi, I wasn’t looking forward to flagging one down. I could have dug Marge’s cell phone out of her purse, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing that, either, seeing as it was down between her feet on the floor.

I felt myself tear up and start to cry.

Read More
ďAdam

Adam

This day, September 28th, 2402, would go down in history as one of the best for humanity, thought NanoLabs engineer Jacob Preston as he prepared for the press conference. After 23 years of hard work, NanoLabs had finally created an artificial intelligence that could surpass humans in terms of mind power.

Before Jacob took the stand, NL’s president, a sixty-something Canadian by the name of Matthew Harrison gave a short introduction.

“As you all know by now, NanoLabs has been searching for years to create an artificial intelligence who can equal or surpass the intelligence level of human beings. After much effort, I am glad to introduce Jacob Preston, who will explain the results.”

Jacob walked up to the podium, trying to conceal his nervousness. He, out of all the engineers on the project, had been selected by lot to give the speech today. He had never been a great public speaker growing up in California. However, today was the day he would show mankind that a greater intelligence could be created.

“It gives me great pleasure to speak about our A.I. creation,” Jacob began.

“We here at NanoLabs wanted to choose a name for the prototype, and by vote, we picked Adam.”

Read More

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