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Everyday Drabbles #868: Sting Operation

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The Elf sat at the back of the subway car, pretending to scroll through her phone. Next to her was a pair of nervous-looking Halflings. Opposite, a grumpy dwarf sat next to a dozing gym rat orc. None of them was her target.
She brought up the camera to take one of those self-photos mortals enjoyed and caught the Goblin leering at her in the screen’s reflection.
She winked at him and exited the train at the next stop. Her mark followed her up to the street, believing he was stealthy.
By morning, she’d bring down the whole kidnapping ring.

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Everyday Drabbles #867: The Tree of Life

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The “Tree of Life” was a mass of red tubing, glass, circuitry, and netting that stood at the center of the Colony Habitation Ring.
None of the residents knew what it did, but Management said it was a vital part of the Life Support System, a part of the computer that kept the compound running and safe. Every so often, a resident would be called to the Tree of Life and disappear.
When they tore it all down, the residents found the Tree of Life was empty, nothing more than another trick played by Management. That just made them angrier.

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Everyday Drabbles #866: The Moderator

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He sailed through the sky, gliding from building to building, leaving behind a trail of glittering exhaust from his jetpack assist. His helmet HUD could spot a criminal from twenty stories up.
Something was wrong with the city. That’s why he became a vigilante. It wasn’t enough to be law-abiding in a world sliding into chaos. He learned about the problems from the Vigil_NT app and knew he had to do something to help. He would bring order, both online and from the rooftops.
But he never expected the malware that took him down to come from inside his suit.

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Everyday Drabbles #865: The Launch Ramp

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They abandoned the launch ramp long ago. Everyone who could afford to abandon Earth for the Space Colonies left and pulled the ladder up behind them. The rich and powerful promised ‘Resettlement Initiatives’ and ‘Environmental Restoration Projects,’ all the while building sites like this one to get out and leave the rest of us to die.
I dig through the rusting rockets and leftover parts and wonder what they felt as they watched the dying world shrink to nothing on their monitors.
I set to work and wonder what they will say when all of us catch up to them.

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Everyday Drabbles #864: Black Friday

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Once a year, the merchant visited the town. She brought strange goods from far-off lands, exotic spices, and treasures beyond compare. She would sit in the town square with her wonderous stock arranged around her and wait for someone to come and make a deal.
When the townsfolk saw her coming, they closed their curtains and locked their doors. Everyone knew the cost of her mysterious and enticing wares.
But every year, she would strike a bargain. There would be a rebellious teenager or a traveler who dismissed the townfolks’ warnings as superstition. The merchant always got what she wanted.

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Everyday Drabbles #863: The Message

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He had only a few moments to send a message into the past. He couldn’t survive the trip through the wormhole, and he didn’t know that anyone would be on the other side to receive what he sent through, but he had one chance to send a short message, for good or ill.
He thought about the impact his message could have. What tragic events could he prevent, and how could he steer the course of history?
He considered his own life and what he would change. In the end, he only sent two words through the portal.
“THANK YOU.”

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Everyday Drabbles #862: The Remembrance

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It hadn’t stopped snowing in over a year. The village had managed to survive growing potatoes under lamps in dirt-floored basements.
When she couldn’t grow a flower for her mother’s grave, she decided to build one. Electronics were the one thing they had in abundance, so she strung one together from LEDs and a little battery. She placed the electric flower on her mother’s grave and switched it on. It blazed red and orange in the night. Soon, others followed her example.
It had been a year since they’d seen the sky, but the churchyard became a sea of stars.

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Everyday Drabbles #861: Kardashev

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When humanity came to survey their planet, the visitors did not deem them an advanced civilization.
Where, the humans asked, were their great cities? Why did they not harvest the full capacity of their planet’s energy production? Why did they not use all the energy produced by their sun? Why did they not colonize their neighboring planets and stars?
The humans judged them as a level zero civilization, unworthy of diplomacy. It suited them fine, as they found the Earthlings distasteful.
It was not that their civilization did not consume, but they had learned what it meant to be satisfied.

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Everyday Drabbles #860: Makeup Tutorial

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The girl was crying in the bathroom when I came in.
“Whatever he did, he ain’t worth it, honey.”
She straightened and composed herself. “It isn’t like that,” the girl said.
“Of course not.” I pulled a wipe from my purse. “Let’s fix your makeup.” When I pulled out the switchblade, she gasped.
“Sometimes a sharp line is best for mascara,” I said. I pressed the flat of the blade against my cheek and used the spine as a straight edge. I set it down on the counter.
I guess I forgot to ask for the knife back. Oh well.\

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Everyday Drabbles #859: The Mountain Gateway

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Huddled in our makeshift camp at the base of the valley, we heard trickling water for the first time in years. We searched and found a little pool collecting a rivulet flowing off a high mountain. We drank our fill.
I climbed to the summit and was amazed by what I found.
The gateway opened to another, better world. On the other side, a stream flowed out of a grassy field. I felt the breeze on my face and heard actual birdsong. I smelled the fresh air.
I wandered through, enraptured. The soldiers waited for me just out of sight.

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