Faster than the speed of sh!te
I had been reading about an experimental propulsion system to make interstellar travel a possibility when I came across a news article about vehicles near an airport being covered in excrement, apparently jettisoned by planes flying over the road.
This story was the result.
Submitted to Daily Science Fiction .com, it made the first stage but, unfortunately didn't get as far as publication.
Robson didn’t have a clue who had the idea to locate a porthole in the toilet. He was just glad they did.
The sight of blurred stars streaming past the plexiglass, coupled with the barely perceptible thrum of the helical engine proved very relaxing to a bowel desecrated by a month of protein shakes.
Relieved, he extricated himself from the vacuum seat and reattached the flap at the rear of his jumpsuit.
The engine had gradually boosted the ship to almost 95% of light speed and was still accelerating as, with a last glance at the light show, Robson hit the ’void’ button.
An executive decision had been made on Earth, to eject waste en route, rather than bunker it until arrival at the Alpha site. Referring to the ninety-six bags of waste mankind had already left on the moon, one project administrator quipped "We don’t want your first words on a new planet to be ‘just one small crap for a man.’ "
As the waste slid from the unfortunately named dump valve, propelled by a silent breath of air, its core temperature plummeted from a cosy thirty six degrees to the minus two hundred and seventy degrees of its surroundings, taking on a matt surface befitting its newly petrified condition.
In the absence of any resistance, the mass initially floated alongside the good ship Sterculius but as the ship accelerated and the sideways momentum imparted at the moment of expulsion caused the two to drift inexorably apart they were soon separated forever by the vastness of space
The war was almost over. The ambassadors of the G’nath Hegemony were at the point of endorsing a treaty with the Family of Seven. Millions of sight receptors focussed on the tiny ship, dwarfed by the two mighty armadas which flanked it, anxiously anticipating the outbreak of peace.
In the silence of interplanetary space, a flower bloomed. From a tiny seed, it grew. Red. Yellow. White. And the ship was gone.
Inside the lead vessels of the opposing fleets, the cries were deafening. Shouts of betrayal. Demands for vengeance.
If the generals, tired of years of war, had not held their resolve, a whole garden would have flowered in the fire of a thousand suns.
But the peace held.
As is commonplace on such auspicious occasions, the signing of the Treaty had been recorded from a thousand different angles. Analysis began immediately.
Initial theories focussed on a bomb on board the ship but the culprit was eventually determined to be external.
A tiny projectile, travelling at almost light speed had entered the System from interstellar space. Despite its diminutive size, its incredible velocity released more energy on impact than the detonation of a thousand photonic devices.
Investigators struggled to understand how such a weapon could bypass the whole early warning network.
Then, they recovered a fragment. It was organic. At atmospheric temperature and pressure it was soft and malleable. Current scanning technology could not have alerted them to its approach.
Obviously, they concluded, it was the work of a highly advanced and warlike civilisation which, for reasons unknown, sought to destabilise the fragile peace in the K’ral sector. But they had failed.
The attack had cemented the alliance born in the fire of the Treaty attack.
The Family of Seven and the G’nath Hegemony reacted as one.
They pointed their combined fleets in the direction from which the attack had come and fired up their engines.