Farmpunk contest entry

in #farmpunk6 years ago (edited)

animal-photography-animals-blur-67562.jpg

This is my entry for @blockurator's farmpunk contest! You can find the original post here:
https://steemit.com/fiction/@blockurator/farmpunk-flash-fiction-contest-the-first-ever-9c31998007d03est


Raina pulled hard at the turn key on the back of the giant mechanical spider.

“Come on Blip, I need your help! This is no time to take a nap.” A few grunts and hard tugs later and the key finally broke through the rust holding it in place. Blip’s numerous flashing lights lit up one by one. It stood up on its eight spindly metal legs before setting about its work. It poked its legs into different spots in the dirt and sucked up soil through it’s tubing and into a compartment where it checked for various nutrients. Where it found good soil, it planted a seed. Bad soil was discarded through a shoot on the front of Blip’s face and skipped over for planting.

Blip made several disgruntled beeping noises and ejected a large pile of soil. Apparently not much of the dirt was up to his standards this season. Raina left Blip to his work and set off in search of Grendel. Grendel was a goat, and Raina had learned quickly that goats should never be left unattended for long. She found him happily chewing away at some wires.

“Grendel! That is not food!” Grendel bleated in response, evidently he didn’t agree. Raina took his wires away from him and he cried out in despair.

“Don’t be so dramatic. I’ll find something else for you to eat soon, hopefully something easier to digest.” Raina examined the wires in her hands more closely. She had helped her dad build almost everything on their farm, and she thought she knew where these wires had come from.

“Oh Grendel, you didn’t…”

Raina walked the perimeter of their farm. It would take a while to find the panel Grendel had stolen the wires from, but it was very important that she did. Their farm was encased by a giant dome comprised of individual octagonal panels. Besides helping to filter the mildly toxic air of the surrounding planet and maintaining its own water cycle, it was also what kept them hidden.

Looking at the dome from the inside gave the illusion that you were looking up into a blue sky and out over lush rolling hills of grass. Looking at it from the outside simply mirrored the surrounding terrain. It wasn’t perfect camouflage but, in a large desert that was mostly unoccupied, it did its job well enough.

But when one panel went down, as the one currently missing a chunk of wiring presumably had, the surrounding panels tended to misbehave as well. If anyone were to fly by they would see what would appear to be a very strange hole exposing lush farmland in the middle of the desert. Raiders would certainly find that intriguing.

Raina’s father had flown off a few hours ago to meet up with a passing freight ship to negotiate some trades. If raiders came knocking now she would only have herself, a goat, and a planter spider to fight them off with. She touched the pistol at her side for reassurance. Normally the chances of someone flying over would be rather slim, but her father probably wasn’t the only one on route to the nearby freighter.

Raina approached the faulty panel carefully. It had been pushed in and there was a hole in the back of it. She looked through to empty red dunes on the other side. She couldn’t find any sign of what had damaged the panel to begin with, which she considered a good thing. There were plenty of large ill tempered creatures that roamed the dunes and they were all worth keeping a healthy distance from. She took a closer look at the damaged panel, most of the wires were missing. She cursed at Grendel under her breath. The damage wasn’t something she could easily fix. Maybe when her dad got back he could help her salvage some of the parts, but it needed replaced before then. Raina turned to head to the shed where they kept the extra paneling when she noticed the footprints in the dirt.

There were three separate sets, all much to large to belong to her. Assuming her dad hadn’t grown four extra feet since she’d seen him last, she figured she could cross him off the list too.

She jumped behind a nearby bush. When she had calmed her initial wave of panic and assured herself that no one was nearby, she climbed out of the bush and followed the prints towards their shed. She saw two large men digging through their spare parts. She ducked behind a hay bale for cover.

“We might be able to get something for this. What do you reckon?” The shorter of the two men held up one of their extra panels for his partner to inspect.

“Hell if I know, I aint ever seen half this shit before. This guy must be some kinda back yard engineer. Take whatever we can fit on the ship. If we can’t figure out what it does we can always sell it to a scrapper for parts.”

Raina looked around frantically for the owner of the third pair of footprints when she felt someone grab her from behind.

“Gotcha! Look at what I found Collins!” Raina waved her pistol around trying to line up a shot on her captor but he wrestled it out of her hands.

The two other men walked over to them. The tall man looked her up and down before addressing the man holding her.

“Pretty useless find if you ask me. She’s too scrawny to sell to slavers. I thought you said there weren’t nobody here?”

“Must’ve missed her on my first sweep. Found her now though didn’t I?”

“Tie her up and put her somewhere out of the way til we’ve finished here.” The tall man was giving orders, so he must be their leader.

“Wonder if this does anything worthwhile.” The short man picked up her discarded pistol and shot it at the hay bale. The short man and her captor laughed.

“Pew, pew!” Her captor mocked. Raina turned red. It wasn’t the strongest laser pistol out there sure, but it was the first one she’d ever made herself. The tall man grunted.

“Enough playing around. Leave the little girl her toy and help me finish packing up so we can get outta here.”

“You won’t get away with this!” Raina could hear her father’s voice in her head advizing her against doing anything foolish, but she couldn’t just let them run off with all of their hard work. “You see that planter bot over there? My father made it himself and you won’t be so quick to laugh at the defensive measures he installed! You should leave now before I give Blip the order to blow all three of you off this farm!” It wasn’t entirely a bluff. Blip did have lots of scary guns at his disposal, but the bot’s programming was still a little spotty and convincing him to actually use them might be harder than she was trying to get the raiders to believe.

“Sorry sweetheart, but I’m gonna go ahead and call that bluff.” The tall man didn’t even bother turning around to address her.

“Fine! It’s your funeral. Blip! Engage defensive sequence alpha!” Blip turned around from where he had been busy sucking up dirt and surveyed the group of intruders. Raina held her breath, it looked like he might actually respond to her command. The men all reached for their weapons warrily. Blip opened up his front shute and ejected a large pile of rejected dirt onto the ground in front of Raina before turning and continuing his work. The three men howled in amusement.

“Thanks kid, I needed a laugh.” Her captor jostled her hair.

“Blip you’re a useless lumbering tower of scrap metal, I hope you know that!” Her captor stumbled backwards.

“What in the hell?” Grendel the goat was doing his best to eat a strap from one of the man’s holsters that had been hanging down temptingly from his waist. The man kicked Grendel off. “Get outta here, damn goat.” Clearly this man hadn’t spent much time around goats, if he had might have known that they don’t take well to being kicked. Grendel reared back and butted the man in his side causing him to lose his hold on Raina as well as his balance. He staggered for a moment before falling backwards into a row of sprouting tomato plants.

Blip turned slowly towards the crushed sprouts. All of his lights turned a bright red and panels slid back to reveal plasma cannons. Raina jumped behind a rock for cover as Blip rained blast after furious blast down on the tomato killer’s heads.

Luckily for them, Blip was a terrible aim. All three managed to make it off the farm to the safety of their cloaked ship where they quickly took off, Blip still hot on their trail. When they were well out of sight, blip continued with his planting.

Raina surveyed the damage caused by Blip’s onslaught.

“Well that was quite the temper tantrum. I think you might have killed a few tomatoes yourself you know.” Raina sighed. “Dad’s going to be furious. Don’t worry, I’ll tell him the raiders caused the damage so he doesn’t sell you to a scrapper.”

Grendel chewed happily on a piece of leather from her captor’s holster. Raina started to take it away from him but then stopped. “Fine, I suppose you earned it. I don’t want to hear anything about it if you wind up with a tummy ache though.”

All three set about their work to get things as well in order as they could before Raina’s father came home. Blip tended the plants, Raina fixed the dome, and Grendel chewed his leather. All and all, Raina figured she couldn’t ask for a better team.


Thank you for reading! <3

The image used above is free for personal and commercial use and you can find it here:
https://www.pexels.com/photo/gray-mountain-goats-67562/

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Congratulations! You're the winner. I'm working on the blog post announcement now. Thanks for entering.

Cool :D Thanks for hosting this contest, it's a really fun genre you've created!

Blip ignoring her until the plants get damaged it a wonderful touch, he has one priority! There is a distinct lack of farming domes in scifi, I am hoping this farmpunk catches on a bit and we get a few more rounds to explore it a bit more.

I agree, I hope it continues as well! It reminds me of stories we came up with as kids while we were playing so it’s a lot of fun to write. As for Blip, thanks, I definitely have a soft spot for quirky robots lol.

Congrats on the win, I liked that, comedy in action, I could really see all the lights lighting up on blip, and the bad guy being pulled back by grendel the goat, very pleasant story to read.

Thank you :D I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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