Intergalactic teleportation & organic robots

Eleanor Konik

Eleanor Konik

Professionally, I teach pre-teens about ancient civilizations. In my downtime, I enjoy combining storytelling with my love of sharing obscure history and science.

Can Androids Cope with Tiny Goats?

This month's (inaugral!) Fourth Friday Flash is one of my rare science fiction pieces. Check out the Afterword at the bottom for more information about the research that went into writing it.

The first night Ollie stood watch over the teleporter's bio-printer, white-backed vultures destroyed the latrines in their quest for settler shit. Ollie spent the next morning weaving protective nets out of river reeds and cursing her predecessor, who’d had the privilege of standing to pee.

The second night, one of the erstwhile university professors got dizzy-drunk off the impromptu colony's last box of plum wine and declared that Gliese was too imprecise a name for the planet they’d fled to. “Gliese is a catalogue of stars,” Dr. Jackson shouted, “You can’t name a planet Gliese!”

The cook, Andrea, declared herself sick of pedantic engineers and tossed Jackson into the river. The splash scared the local storks, who got tangled in the nets, which collapsed on Ollie. Ollie made the cook help cut a replacement fence for the latrines. As revenge, Andrea left feathers in her stork meat stew.

On the third night of standing watch at base camp, the teleporter started beeping during Ollie's midnight dump. She hoisted up her pants, wishing — and not for the first time — that her Colonel had chosen to stay on Earth and defend the technocracy. At least then maybe she’d be able to shit in peace.

The teleporter clanked and whirred as it maneuvered molecules into place; it must be working on something big, like maybe a rhino. The Colonel said the planet had been terraformed into sort of reserve for endangered animals; like geneticists, he'd said grimly. Hoping for an Exmoor pony instead, or maybe one last refugee — and not, say, a battalion of Luddite rebels — Ollie stood ready with her lasso and a makeshift spear.

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