Flash Fiction Challenge: Intercept

Photo by K.S. Brooks

From our cutter, we could see the lights of the thing on the horizon. Radar was still telling us there was nothing there, but our own eyes said different.

We had heard the stories about this strange craft from the survivors we had picked up. Most of us hadn’t believed them.

I looked at the captain to see if he was going to order an intercept course. He just stood there transfixed.

In a moment, it didn’t matter anymore. The other craft had set an intercept course with us.

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

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4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Intercept”

  1. We were in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, nowhere near Bermuda. How could this be happening?

    But it was. Every time I looked at the thing, it was closer. It had to be moving impossibly fast.

    Finally, the captain sprang to life. “Battle stations!” he roared.

    I focused on the useless radar screen before me as the klaxons began wailing.

    “Radar! Report!” Cappy barked at me.

    I shrugged. “Still nothing, sir.”

    “Should we turn, sir?” asked Klein at the helm.

    Cappy’s shoulders sagged. Then, resolutely, he lifted them again. “No,” he said. “Hold your course.”

    One of the survivors burst through bridge door. “Hard about!” he shrieked, eyes wide as a madman’s, as he grabbed Cappy’s shoulders and shook him. Another sailor and I sprang from our seats to peel him off.

    “No,” Cappy said again. “We won’t turn tail and run.”

    The man collapsed and curled into a ball, keening.

    I turned back to the window. The thing was almost on us. It was bigger than an aircraft carrier, its hide a sickly, pulsing green. And its eyes –

    Cappy grabbed the microphone, bellowing, “This is the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Intrepid. State your name and affiliation.”

    The leviathan blinked. Then, with a roar, it opened its maw and…bit.

    When I came to, I was clinging to a piece of wreckage. I saw no one else — except the survivor who had tried to save us. “Hard about,” he muttered as he began to sob. “Hard about!”

  2. It dove under the waves, still nothing on radar. The craft was gone, just gone. And then they felt it. The collision came from below, knocking Ensign Smythe the helmsman, from his seat.

    “Full ahead, Now.” Captain Blanesforth yelled. “Give me some distance.”

    The crew didn’t respond, instead they jumped into action. Smythe was back in his seat, making course corrections.

    “Damage reports coming in now, sir,” Commander Taite said. “We have a breach in the aft crew quarters. Measures are being taken now to lock it down.”

    “Casualties?” the captain asked.

    “No word yet sir,” Taite said. He turned to the communication’s officer. “I need visuals on that thing. We need to know what we are dealing with.”

    The captain focused on protecting the crew and the ship, looked out the windows. He was searching for anything that could be used to their advantage. “Helmsman, on my mark, give me full steam, come about ninety degrees.” He was still scanning the horizon. “Now.”

    It wasn’t instantaneous, but the boat listed to the side as it powered into the turn. The thing had been tight to the aft of the boat, it shot past them.

    “Visual report coming in now sir.” Taite said. “It has broken off pursuit. Orders?”

    “Get me full damage reports,” Blanesforth said. “We will be hitting that thing hard on the next pass.”

  3. A glance at the helmsmen told me that he too was either paralyzed by fear or in some type of trance. I pushed the young seaman aside and spun the wheel hard to port knowing that the maneuver would be too little, too late. Grabbing the wheel I braced myself for an impact and shut my eyes tightly. But no collision came. Cautiously I opened my eyes to see calm seas all around the cutter and find myself completely alone on deck.

    I heard a high pitched whine overhead. Looking up I saw a massive craft hovering overhead perhaps fifteen meters above. I stared in wonder as the huge ship rose rapidly and then sped off toward the horizon at an astonishing speed. The cutter was adrift, dead in the water. Somehow, the strange craft had disabled our engines. After checking the entire boat for my fellow crewmen and finding myself quite alone on the boat, I made my way to the radio room. It is there that I collapsed.

    I awoke to see the Captain and Helmsman standing over me. I managed to get out a few words, “What happened?” The Captain chuckled nervously, “You just passed out, I’m afraid.”

    I sat up quickly and could see most of the crew had gathered around me. “What about the survivors?”

    The Captain’s face grew dark as he said, “There were no survivors, I’m afraid. Just debris.”

    “But that strange craft?”

    “No other craft, no survivors.”

  4. It had been three days since the strange glow had appeared on the horizon. Three days since the Captain had ordered us to approach, and for three days we have got no closer.

    The first mate spun the large wooden wheel in his hands and bearing the ship to the right as the rudder at the back was forced to accept the new position. The bow of the ship now pointed at the lights in the distance once again. The sails on the main mast billowed and filled as they began to cut through the clear water.

    A loud crack came from behind the first mate as the Captain exited from the cabin, narrowly avoiding catching the red cape hanging from his shoulder as he pushed the door closed.

    “Mr Gibbs.” He called out in a commanding tone, “Report our position.”

    Turning, Mr Gibbs nervously looked the Captain in the eye, “No progress, Captain. It doesn’t make sense. The lights move before we can even turn the bow.”

    The Captain said nothing as he drew the spyglass from his waist and peered through it at the lights, which gave no further clarity than without.

    “Captain?” The first mate asked nervously, “There’ve been stories of ships in these parts been lost. Do you think?”

    Lowering the spyglass, the Captain turned, “I don’t believe in ghost stories.”

    The lights vanished.

    The Captain couldn’t see after it surrounded them, but he knew it was wrong. The light faded leaving nothing but rippling ocean.

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