Free-Range Fiction: The Exclusion Zone

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This is in response to Chuck Wendig’s weekly Friday challenge to do some flash fiction. This week he challenged us to do no more than 1,000 words on this sentence:  The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.  I did have to change the tense of the sentence and the article, but other than that, I’m fairly interested in what I came up with. (Edit:  I missed the, it should be your opening sentence bit. Oh well. It got me writing.)  It’s hard to build a world and make it interesting for your reader in less than 1,000 words.  I penned this while sitting in an art fair booth in the heat on Saturday.  It is in its rough state. I’ve made no edits to what I originated on that day.  Feel free to leave comments, especially if you’re a science fiction fan.  Enjoy…

Exclusion Zone

The signage all over Black Cat Space Station said, “NO ANDROID ALLOWED” in seventeen different languages. Public service announcements every three hours gave even more details. The Universal United Governors had declared this an android exclusion zone during the Selah Convention and was enforced by the United Planetary Army.

Guards everywhere with ocular implants scanned without stopping to see the spinal cord signal that gave away the identity of a generation nine android. Most visitors came to Black Cat simply for recreation and pleasure. It was the Vegas of quadrant three of the Cascadian System. The Army recruits mostly came from the Appalachian System, which was mostly populated by the Neruvian species, who never had to blink and whose average nine-foot height was perfect for surveying the Black Cat’s population, which surged and shrank in regular ocean-like waves.

The Army had stationed an entire platoon of Neruvians at the new feature at Black Cat, The Wondering Station. This new tourist trap took people into basically a recycle quick flight personnel carrier made for intersystem travel. But with fuel issues personal intersystem travel was frowned upon. However, there was millions of these aircraft, especially close to Black Cat, because they had been manufactured on a moon base not too far from Black Cat.

Once a customer was inside The Wondering Station, they were hooked up to biofeeds and were hooked up to ocular and auditory stimulators. The customer drank a “wondering” elixir. The whole process took the dreams of the customer and made them real for up to thirty minutes – if they paid for the “grand level.” There was a line of visitors from the moment The Wondering Station opened until the time they closed.  Even after closing time people waited the “dream high” as those who’d experience it referred to it. It was that intense, as real as any experience for the customer. Testimonials advertised to the waiting patrons and the curious: “I can die happy now;” “I think it was better than the real thing;” or even the real seller, “Best fuck for my buck.” Most of the sales were for interspecies sex fantasies, since the real thing was outlawed in most systems.

Hours passed and the Neruvian soldiers kept sentry. At station point 42.9, Corporal Sunburst – so given that name because of the shock of hair atop his red wine Neruvian skin was bright yellow like a solar flare – stood scanning back and forth his sector. Just before his shift was scheduled to end, he spotted an android. He put a bead on the individual and radioed the survey base, which was in the central tower of the Black Cat Space Station. It looked like the center of a gigantic top. The spotter that sat in the center of the circle of screens – some video, some heat sensor, some hooked up to sentry points of those that called in like Sunburst. The spotter and Corporal Sunburst watched as the noticed android walked past the wondering station. The androids chip blipped and buzzed on the various screens in the security center. Corporal Sunburst watches ad the android turned and looked right at him – used his humanoid hand to make the shape of a gun and mock fired it towards Sunburst. If he could have blinked he would have. Instead he swallowed and drew his weapon and awaited word from the command center. A moment later The Wondering Station’s windows exploded. A huge mushroom cloud plumed and raised high above the space station. Sunburst began to feel the metal beneath his feet tremble; his large nine-foot frame swayed a bit and then the 42.9 platform crumbled beneath him. Soon the android, The Wondering Station, and all of Black Cat was smoking, flaming and collapsing in ruin.

The only ting left when help arrived was a “NO ANDROIDS ALLOWED” sign in seventeen languages.


I thought you created a lot about the world in 1000 words, but the rough draft doesn’t carry much story. Seems like it’s a great character and world sketch for a complex story to develop from. Specifically, I missed a motivation for why the android wasn’t allowed and why they would risk the destruction that occurred to keep them away….intriguing ideas and the action sequence at the end is intense…Selah Convention, heh heh heh.

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