The Kids

KariveShort Fiction

They giggled through the tall grass, the echoes of their voices bouncing off the small hills. They didn't stop running, they went and went, over shallow streams and smooth rocks, across large fields and sparse deserts they went. They didn't stop until they reached their destination, but their destination was unknown to them. When it was near they would know. A slight tingle on their backs would occur, their laughter would grow louder with their excitement. This was one of those times. As they approached it, their laughter slowed and eventually ceased, for they had found something quite unusual.

They paused 100 yards away, wondering if this was close enough. From their position, a dull hum could be distinctly heard over their natural surroundings. It, whatever 'it' was, would occasionally emit a loud TICK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK which at first startled them. The brave one decided to move closer while the timid one stayed back. In all their group was composed of the brave one, and the timid one, of which you've already met, as well as the comedian, the cunning one, and the artistic one. As the brave one approached with heavy feet it began to light up, slowly it flashed first red then white and repeated, red, white, red, white. Perplexed but undaunted the brave one approached more cautiously. The further he progressed without incident the more confident he became, at about 20 yards away it pulsed again, this time with a vivid green it began to expand slowly at first, but faster and faster. It began to hum louder, and instead of an occasional noise, it began to CLACK incessantly. This startled them all, including the brave one. They ran back, further and further. 150 yds. CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK. 200 yds. CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK. 300 yds. CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK. At 400 yds, the sound began to fade. Slowly the streams and animals took over.

They returned back to the settlement as quickly as they could, this was difficult as their oxygen was beginning to run low. It had been 57 years since their grandparents had arrived, they used to speak of the glory of Earth, but here there was no such life. The environment here on Karive was violent and unpredictable, much of it unknown. It is impossible for them to know, but they have encountered a rather simple mechanism left behind from the first attempt. Or at least that is what it was commonly refereed to as. When human spaceflight was beginning to show true colonial promise the first attempt was sent to Karive in the year 2112. This attempt ended in near disaster after they suffered a critical engine failure of unknown origin. The children don't know this yet, and perhaps they never will.

The brave one urged them to hurry. He seemed tense and worried which was quite unusual for someone of his type. They sped up and approached the settlement. Each settlement had 16 pods, in each pod there were 2 families. A family consisted of 2 parents and 2 children, no more no less. Across the surface of Karive there were a total of 78 settlements, which means there are a total of 9984 individuals living on Karive. No more, no less. Each pod had a specific purpose, Pods 1-6 were food pods, they are responsible for the production of food for all members in their settlement. Pods 6-8 is Maintenance, responsible for keeping current systems operational. Pod 9 is Engineering, responsible for systems upgrades. Pods 10-12 is scientific research, which is sent back to Earth. Pods 12-14 are the Heritage Pods, which are devoted to passing the culture of Earth on to the next generations. Pods 15-16 were Security and Exploration, of which the brave one was a member.