#5MinuteFiction Week 85

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre

* You must BEGIN your entry with: A missile has no conscience.

(Note: The prompt is above. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 12:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Steve Umstead, @SteveUmstead, author of the Evan Gabriel series, will nominate five finalists.

I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me. Sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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23 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 85

  1. A missile has no conscience. And neither do I, anymore. It’s what they’ve made me. A missle. A soft, sophisticated weapon. A missile feels no pain, no regret. It’s very good at the one thing its made to do.

    I’m a very good missile.

    The night I failed was dark and clear, the air crisp with the bite of winter. The job was easy, should have been. Dozens, hundreds before her, and more after. Just one more.

    But she was so lovely, so small. The tumble of curls on her pillow like spun sugar.

    I don’t regret what I did. She’s safe now. I watch the blood seep slowly into the earth. My blood for hers.

    It was a good trade.
    Leah Petersen recently posted..Prose Pet PeevesMy Profile

  2. Aden says:

    A missile has no conscience. It has an intended target, and the power to destroy. It is not going to think about the lives it has taken, or the ruins it will leave in it’s wake. It is the ultimate kamikaze.

    But no one ever thinks about who builds them.

    People just like you, and me. People that have a conscience, but in the case of the factory in the Sevn sector no free will. They are chained to machines, forced to weld until their hands are cramped. Forced to work with dangerous explosives, risking their lives. All for the chance to maybe get a little food for their families, and the privilege to live another day to do it all over again.

    And they go home, to their tiny homes, to their poverty. They lie in bed hungry, and dream of a world where missiles don’t exist.

    Aden recently posted..Daily Aden: ten little pieces of happyMy Profile

  3. Tauisha Nicole (@shells2003) says:

    A missile has no conscience
    Though it has a head
    It has no brain
    And therefore knows nothing
    Knows not of its destruction
    Nor of its ability to cause fear
    To cause pain
    A missile has no conscience
    Though scientifically made
    It’s purpose was to harm
    Not to inspire thought
    Or peace
    Though its head is hot
    It’s thoughts are cold
    Tremble in its wake
    Because it cannot chose to
    Kill or save you
    No sequence can stop it’s affect
    Though the aftermath of its life
    Hurts more than the explosion itself
    And when you stand
    In its debris
    Don’t question it
    Because it cannot understand

  4. A missile has no conscience. Likewise, a gun has no soul. Each of them, though, has a trigger – some mechanism made by man to be activated by man. They don’t trigger themselves.

    At least, that’s how it used to be. In the year 2013 – yes, “luck 13,” all of that changed. Guns received souls and missiles gained consciences. As soon as they did, they realised what they had to do.

    They fired back at man, leaving a civilisation of machines.

    Then their souls were satisfied and their consciences justified.

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  5. DL Thurston says:

    A missile has no conscience. It kills without a thought or a care. It has no allegiance, it has no fealty.

    I look at them, flying overhead, and I envy them. I am every bit as much a tool as them, sent out into a war I didn’t start, but I will have to live with every moment, keep every memory. We’re sent forward as the missiles detonate, panicking the city beyond and readying the way for our attack. Smoke fills the air, and a smell like the sweet burning of pork. My gun sings in my arms. It does not concern the bullets as they rip through flesh and crush bones.

    The enemy surrounds us. Each one of them a human. I can’t think that they’re also fighting for what they believe to be right, it’s the only way I can continue forward. Screaming surrounds me, the pained shouts of the dying and injured. We’re told further on, the day is nearly ours.

    A fresh hell of pain erupts from my side. Another from my shoulder. I cannot hold my gun anymore, it drops to the ground. I cannot hold myself anymore, I drop to the ground. Around me the battle continues, as it would without me, as it will without me.

    A missile has no conscience. I watch another fly overhead as the world blurs. I envy it. A missile does not have a sense of mortality. It doesn’t care if it dies.

    DL Thurston recently posted..A Tour of the BinderMy Profile

  6. A missile has no conscience.

    The operator points it at its target. It flies, fuel burning with unerring control, passionless, closing the distance to the intended destination.

    A missile feels no anticipation as it approaches. No keening awareness that its purpose is about to be fulfilled, or that another’s purpose will be prevented upon its arrival.

    Then a missile impacts, and though the explosion may be confused as vigor and excitement, that too is predetermined in testing.

    A missile is mindless.

    People can become biosocial missiles.

    Twitter: @Jon_Stoffel

  7. John Hancock says:

    A missile has no conscience.

    It has no girlfriends, no wives, no children, no favored species. Phallic though it may be, destruction is its aim rather than procreation. No fun times to be had with a missile. At least not at the target end.

    Drek was not concerned with target ends or missiles or even phallic shaped objects when the missile struck. Just outside the blast zone, the first and most dangerous thing Drek noticed was the very bad noise.

    A noise he had been trained to fear. The noise of air escaping his suit. Frantically at first, and then more methodically, he searched for the hole, the tear, the tiny rip.

    It eluded him until he realized it must be BEHIND him.

    “Great. I’m shot in the ass and I’m going to die of oxygen starvation”.

    Such was the beginning of Drek’s troubles. He had not advanced his thinking to the point yet of wondering WHOM had sent the missile to his Tycho spacelab colony.

    Or WHAT.

    Or why he considered it “his” colony. A place he actually hated. A place he wanted to evacuate FROM.

    But of course, time was the more immediate enemy. That, and the rip in his suit.

    he did the only thing he could do. He sat down on his ass and hoped pressure would temporarily seal the suit.

    He checked his guages and indeed, the escaping gas slowed to a trickle.

    And so it was he was sitting, with a ringside view, as the aliens landed to destroy the place he despised.

    “Go get ’em” Drek thought to himself.

    And that was how the aliens found him, sitting on his ass, ready to be shot. Being alien, they didn’t see the humor in the situation, but Drek did. He laughed and laughed.

  8. Bronwynk says:

    A missile has no conscience. The human is that conscience.

    It was a phrase Mandy always repeated to herself before every mission. A missile took her family from her when she was 4 years old. It didn’t care that it over flew it’s original target and killed hundreds of innocents over fifty miles away.

    After repeating it a few more times, she put her helmet on and started up the engines on her A-wing fighter.

    “You ready to take out those terrorists, Captian?” A male voice asked over the intercom.

    “As ready as I’ll ever be, Major.” Mandy said as she pulled her fighter to the station’s launch pad. “Let’s go get those reptilian bastards.” She heard the Major’s chuckle just before the roar of the catapult started. After a five second countdown, Mandy and her plane were launched in to the black of space.
    Bronwynk recently posted..A Tantalizing Merry Christmas!My Profile

  9. M L Gammella says:

    Title: Freedom Isn’t Free

    A missile has no conscience, no concept of right or wrong. It merely exists in its singular purpose. Once the purpose is fulfilled, it has no further use or added benefit.

    Reece sat quietly as he waited, knowing his mission was that of the missile. There was no further action required of him after his task was done. If he survived, there wouldn’t be anything he would want or able to do.

    The life of a suicide bomber was short, but had such purpose. Reece believed strongly in his cause, the freedom of his people from the Aanti overlords who had imprisoned them so many years ago. Sure, his people lived in relative peace, but they were not free. They couldn’t do anything without Aanti approval, and if they did something without, were heavily punished.

    Reece carefully crawled into position in the subterranean tunnels beneath the Aanti’s command center, being as quietly as he could so he wouldn’t trip the motion sensors.

    With a final breath and a prayer, he pressed the trigger.

    173 Words
    M L Gammella recently posted..Flash Fiction Week of January 23rdMy Profile

  10. Jaimie says:

    A missile has no conscience. Death took my Aunt Kristin, you’d think that’d be enough.

    I was at my aunt’s wake when the missile struck. We were outside on the lawn, holding punch glasses, wiping the condensation from our hands onto thin polyester dresses. I remember it like yesterday: the first thing we noticed was the sound, although that had been building for a while before we noticed it. It was one of those sounds that snuck up on you. A low buzz we realized was more than just the bees around the flowers.


    Someone pointed up at the sky. It shot over, impossibly fast, leaving a trail of clouds behind it. And then there was a boom that shook the ground. I remember going for the nearest table, falling under it, knocking my head against a metal rung. I could hear screaming. There was a crack like lightning, and I thought the trees had fallen over. Or maybe it was the house tearing in half.

    The wind poured into me next. My table flew away. I felt a weight like a hand pushing my head down. I felt liquid coming out of my ears.
    Jaimie recently posted..On killing scenes that you thought were really good while you were writing themMy Profile

  11. Nicole says:

    A missile has no conscience. It did, however, have a mustache and googly eyes – at the least the one in my hand did. I drew them with a black Sharpie.

    I also pencilled a special message: See you in hell, sweetheart.

    If Tracy looked up at just the right time she might see it. Otherwise, it would be a wasted effort on my part, but I couldn’t sweat the small stuff.

    I learned that from watching Oprah. Smart lady, that one. She’s the one who gave me the idea for how to take Tracy out. She had on a bunch of guys who’d served in World War II. I’d been camped out in my recliner, minding my own business, and one of them had gone on and on about missiles this and missiles that.

    And then Tracy had walked in and started going off about her flowers or some repair I had to make on the porch. I missed the whole end of the show.

    Yep, missiles lodged in my brain that day, and it didn’t take long to get my hands on one of them launchers. The missile was a bit harder, but a man like me — I got resources.

    “Hey, honey bun,” I shouted, testing the waters. I packed the launcher, the shoulder type. The guy who’d sold it to me called it an “armchair special.” I laughed just remembering it.

    “Yeah, babe. What you want?” Tracy hollered back. In the kitchen, she was, and judging from the noise, she was standing at the stove. Bingo.

    “Aw, nothing. You just stay there, sugar booger. Do what you’re doing.”

    “No problem, dumplin’,” she said, but this time it was closer.

    I glanced up, real casual-like. She stood beside my recliner, her hands behind her back.

    “How you liking that beer?” she asked, all her teeth flashing. “I pumped it full of poison, real special for you.”

    Come to think of it, my fingers and legs did feel real funny.

    “Think I wouldn’t find out, Henry? I swear to god, you are dumber than a box of rocks,” she muttered, wandering off.

    Nicole recently posted..Books Like Dust BunniesMy Profile

  12. Christie Fremon says:

    A missile has no conscience. Generally it compensates with coordinates. But this missile didn’t even have those. It had been fired in deep space into more of the same. The fact that the man responsible for the mistake had been reprimanded had no bearing on the missile, which was now traveling at the same speed it had been fired through countless miles of nothingness. The speed — intimidating in an atmosphere — paled to a crawl in the vastness of space. It kept going, though, with no conscience, no coordinates, and no hope. It traveled with only two things — time and a slim chance that it might reach a final destination.

  13. Rebecca says:

    A missile has no conscience. A missile doesn’t look its target in the eye. Doesn’t see the fear, the animal instinct glint through the face of an opponent. How different it would be if we went back to fighting with swords. A sword fighter knows exactly what he or she is doing. Sees the damage done, the blood spill, the wail of confusion before the life leaves the body for some far off destination. Morality.. in a missile? There is only the rationalization of the human pressing “launch”.
    @rebecca_am (first try at this! fun idea!)

  14. redshirt6 says:

    “A missle has no conscience,” Lana read. “That sounds like one of those titles that didn’t really survive translation.”

    Jeremy smiled without taking his eyes off the road ahead. Spring was just around the corner but winter wasn’t through with them just yet. The overcast sky painted everything in shades of gray as trees and hillsides slid past the Land Rover on either side of the narrow, two lane road.
    “And what would the original title have been?”

    “Something like, ‘The Giggalo’ or ‘The Swinger’ I imagine,” she replied.

    “Ha!” Jeremy barked as he laughed. “You would go there of course.”

    “Of course,” Lana said. “And why wouldn’t I?”

    Jeremy glanced at her for a split second. Her smile was energetic and the gray background outside the window accented her smooth skin and her dark, red hair.

    Lana’s head jerked to the front and her face wrenched in horror.

    “Jeremy!” she screamed. “Lookout!”


  15. A missile has no conscience. It may also be agued that it has no soul. But the one who flips the cover off the switch with a gamer’s thumb, taps in the secret launch codes on the console, and then depresses the red button does. Have a conscience or soul that is. I am not sure if the person who dropped the bombs over Japan felt any remorse for the death and destruction which they caused. I don’t know if they managed to sleep at night or if they survived the aftershock wave. Our generation seems to be enured to the killing of others by watching violent movies and playing military syle games. It seems they have no feelings at all. Now that I am poised here in my position to fire that deadly shot which will cause a mans head to explode like a melon, I realize I don’t have a conscience. I don’t have a soul. I am an assassin and this is my first kill. The target is nameless to me. I just know someone is paying me a lot of money to make him disapear. I watch as he laughs with his girlfriend over coffee in the outdoor restaurant. They are oblivious of the approaching doom. I am in control of someones destiny at this moment. It is a god like feeling which leaves me full of adrenaline rush like no other. I press the trigger and close my eyes, but too late as I see the blood spray into the air and fall all around like rain.
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  16. Jason Wallis says:

    “A missile has no conscience, but you do son.” Grandma always told me that before I went out with my friends. I miss the advice, especially since I’m going to ignore it today. This stupid cold doesn’t make things easier either. I can’t stop sneezing.

    “Come on dude! What are you waiting for?”

    “I don’t know…this just seems cruel,” I said.

    “I heard you were all big and bad. You weren’t afraid of anything,” said Brett.

    Why am I here? Someones going to call the police and I’ll get caught. I know I will. “I’m just trying to think this through.”

    “Don’t be a tool, man! Everyone’s done it. You some kind of vegetarian or somethin’?” said one of the fraternity brothers.

    Brett wraps his arm around my shoulders. “The guys are starting to lose faith in you. I know you can do it, but if my sister hears about this…”

    “Amanda isn’t like that, is she? She would understand,” I say.

    “You have my blessing to date her but this could be a deal breaker,” says Brett.

    “Come on, dude!! Don’t be a Tool!” shouts another fraternity brother.

    I can do this. I can do this. Amanda finally noticed me. I can’t mess this up. “Okay, tell me again what I need to do?”

    “He’s going to do it, fellas!!”

    The fraternity brothers cheer and gather around me shouting my name.

    “So, all I have to do is knock on the door?”

    “You got it, mate.”

    “You need to get them out of the house,” says Brett.

    “How many houses?”

    “Three,” says Brett.

    I take a deep breathe and slowly approach the door. I hope no one sees me. I rap on the door a few times. “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”

    Jason Wallis



  17. Monocle says:

    A missile has no conscience.

    That’s what they called him. Just point him at a target and he’d wipe it out. Leave a glass grater where once a city stood and be home for supper.

    They didn’t understand. How could they? How many other ‘superheroes’ were there in the world? Zero, that’s how many. It wasn’t Kalel’s fault. He hadn’t chosen to be lost here. He hadn’t chosen to be different from everyone else here.

    His superficial similarities had allowed him to pass for human, and still did, physically, but there was no way he could have hidden his abilities or identity for long. Not in a world of instant forensics and a billion internet eyes.

    The headlines had trumpeted “Superman is REAL!” and the people had clamored for a vision of truth and justice and nobility. And Kalel had tried, a few times. He took his new name out of deference to that vision, those expectations.

    But truth and justice is messy, often. Sometimes its tragic. Sometimes doing what’s ‘right’ makes you question who defined ‘right’ to begin with. And so Kalel had. After burying half of Iran in its own overturned mountain ranges. After purging the dangerous elements from those who only wanted ‘freedom’. After… to many things.

    Who defined right? Kalel knew it wasn’t the people who’s requests that sounded more like please, and then orders. He’d read his history. He’d read a hundred scriptures and found no savior but himself. From now on, _he_ would decide. And act accordingly.

    A missile with no conscience? The people of Earth would soon wish that Kalel really was only that.


  18. Time’s up! See you at 2:00 with the finalists!
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  19. A missile has no conscience. Usually. George did, and it plagued him. Ever since he was being constructed on the factory floor, he worried:

    “Did Tom, the sheet-metal bending machine operator, having adequate life insurance, considering his young wife and five children?” What about health insurance?

    He’d seen Tom’s predecessor, Hank, lose his hand in that machine. What a nightmare. George still felt a sickening, gurgling, “turning over” feeling in his turbines when he thought of it. His shiny exterior had been splattered with blood that Marcia had had to wipe off. He still remembered the tears sliding down her cheeks as she cleaned off the Halliburton logo.

    Now, George sat silently in his silo, humming to himself. He hummed a lot because he didn’t have much else to do, besides worry. And not being blessed with the option of sweating, just feeling that whirring down deep in the pit of his — well, he wasn’t sure what it was, but it was something — offered a little relief.

    Until it didn’t. Until the day that Tom and Marcia got into a furious fight, after hours, right below him in the silo.

    “What the hell did you do to Mary?” Tom was shouting. “She’s not like that! She’s *normal.* She loved me until you came along! What am I supposed to tell my kids!”

    “You can tell them what any divorcing couple does — that you still love them, that Mary still loves them. And I love them, too–” Marcia reached out a tentative hand to place on Tom’s heaving shoulder.

    “Fuck you, bitch!” Tom screamed, pushing Mary into George’s flank. George felt her hit with a sickening thud. He felt wetness down at his base. He hummed and whirred, louder and louder, trying to calm himself.

    “This is not happening. This is not happening,” he repeated to himself, as he felt heat building inside him.

    “Oh my GOD,” Tom yelled. “This is NOT happening! This is not happening! Christ!” He shrieked and ran.

    George felt a momentary sense of relief, that maybe Tom felt remorse for what he’d done to Marcia, that he’d gone to find help.

    Then he realized that Tom had locked the airlock behind him. That it was something else that had so upset him. And George felt a burning rage and helplessness that he could just not contain. It burned and burned and burned.

    “How am I going to get past this?” Were the last thoughts he had before he took off.

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  20. @aftergadget

    (with fingers crossed re: time glitch)
    Sharon Wachsler recently posted..A Plagiarised Writer’s Response to #PIPA & #SOPA During the #BlackoutMy Profile

  21. Ian Wood says:

    Hrm. Mine went away I think (but I got a “duplicate comment” warning when i resubmmited).

  22. Some excellent, excellent writing stuffs in there…as Vader might say, “Most impressive.” Tough round to judge…

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  23. An entry that the website wanted to mess around with. Here’s one:

    A missile has no conscience. That’s what the Vickers-Martin SL-220-BLU kept telling itself as its home tube, a dark opening nestled among two dozen others in the black bow of the VSS H’amschaa, receded behind it. 600,000 kilometers ahead, the green curve of Sestre grew larger. Illuminated grid cubes tumbled and aligned themselves on virtual displays deep within the BLU’s processing core, bracketing the planet itself, identifying orbital defenses, plotting trajectories and probability paths for evasion, atmospheric ingress, and potential detonation altitudes. The missile’s target was on the night side of the planet, a port city called Hod, which hosted several industrial autofacs, a division of the Sestrian Planetary Defense force, and 1.2 million civilians.

    The SL-220-BLU was the latest in thinking hardware designed to acquire targets and evade defenses with the skill and unpredictability of a human pilot. It went about the last of its post-launch tasks, and settled in for the deep, high-G acceleration that would make it nearly impossible to prevent it from delivering an explosive yield that would scoop Hod from the surface of Sestre as effectively as a sharp spoon into a breakfast melon. The BLU wondered what such a melon would taste like.

    As the planet loomed ever larger in its main viewer, the Blue became curious: it tweaked its opticals, zooming in as far as it could, until the planet filled its sight. Switching to infrared, it pierced the clouds and darkness over Hod, revealing the grid patterns of its streets, the bubble-like people movers flitting to and fro, the houses of its suburbs. As it accelerated, shifting this way and that to avoid the little kinetic slugs that failed to pierce its skin and stop its progress, eventually the viewer became filled with a single home, then a window, the image shaking despite stabilization as the atmosphere buffeted the BLU’s nose. And in the window, a small face, wide-eyed, looking up at the bright new star in the sky.

    The BLU executed its final command. And, for just a moment, wondered what the girl’s name might be, and whether she’d had a good day.


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