Encapsulate by Matthew Cornachione

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Encapsulate by Matthew Cornachione
Illustration by Sue Babcock

A pine branch slapped her face. Painful, frustrating, but not harmful. Irrelevant compared to what lay ahead. Gabby ducked beneath the bough and continued down the hillside. She quickened her pace as the trees thinned. Then she broke through to the edge of the field and there it was.

A hundred yards away embedded in the ground was a metallic capsule, steam rising from its shiny surface.

The thing had fallen from the sky an hour ago, superheated air leaving an unmistakable track. Excited, Gabby had abandoned her hike and angled across the ridge as fast as possible. Opportunities like this were once in a lifetime.

Now that she was close, she saw that the capsule was quite large. The vessel was cone-shaped, its tip driven into the ground holding it fast in place. The top extended at least thirty feet into the air, not including the antennae. Looked like twenty feet across at the top, plus a wide, shimmering blue brim, like an umbrella. Gabby judged the capsule to be ten feet wide at ground level which, assuming geometry held true, meant the tip rested thirty feet beneath the surface. Quite deep, enough to hold the capsule upright.

She sprinted toward it, sagebrush biting at her high stockings. It didn’t matter though, nothing mattered. Gabby fixated on the capsule, drawn to it like nothing before. Here, finally, was something worthy of her attention.

“Hey, you! Stop!”

The voice, so unexpected, jarred her. Gabby stopped and swiveled, spotting the offending speaker. He was a man, older than her, but not yet past middle age. Typical Wyoming stock in many ways: tall boots, worn jeans, lean frame, tanned skin. The main difference was his camouflage shirt and backpack. Military, not hunting. That and the rifle in his hand. Hunting, not military, but then, it didn’t much matter with a weapon like that.


She turned her back to him and dashed off again toward the capsule. Another thirty yards. She’d make it.

“Whoa, there. Stop or I’ll have to shoot!”

Gabby doubted he would, but something else brought her skidding to a halt. The capsule was just ahead, but she felt subtle undercurrents in the air between her and the vessel. An energy that she had to respect. Prudence dictated she assess the situation. She fixed her gaze on the capsule, trying to examine this strange sensation, as the man ran up beside her.

“Who are you? Are you insane?”

Insane? She turned a blank gaze on him, watched him take a step back, like most did. Often people around here declared her crazy, which was only fair. She thought the same of them. Yet could one with her faculties, her presence of mind, be declared insane? Not in a clinical sense, surely, but perhaps in a colloquial sense. Not that it mattered. The question was inane.

“Look ma’am, I’m not sure how you got out here so fast, but I’m under strict orders to keep all folks back. For your own safety, of course. Nobody knows what this thing is. It’s possible it could cause harm, maybe even kill you.”

Gabby stared across the sagebrush. Thirty-four…seven million two-hundred thousand…four-hundred forty-four,twelve-thousand and five. No, she had a better number. Plausible, alarming, and entirely unverifiable.

“There are three thousand six hundred and twenty-three things that could kill me in the next ten minutes. Why should I be concerned about any particular one?”

“Uh, are you serious? This thing just appeared out of nowhere and has all sorts of scary gadgets on top of it. That’s enough for anyone to keep their distance.”

Gabby didn’t bother to argue that, by virtue of her very existence, she disproved his statement. She didn’t need to engage this man; she needed to get past him with a minimum of time and effort. That wouldn’t be hard.

She took another step forward, raised her arm before her, and spread her fingers. The tingle intensified, but she didn’t have time to examine it. As expected, the man moved to cut her off.

Gabby moved faster. She twisted her hips and whipped her other hand up, catching the man full in the face with a backhand slap. Whether from the force or the shock, the man stumbled back, tripped over a bush, and fell hard on his butt.

This time she watched as his face betrayed his thoughts. First confusion reigned, then his mind registered what had happened. Gabby stared coolly as he scrambled to his feet and leveled his rifle at her.

“Ma’am, you’ve just assaulted an Army reservist. I need you to kneel on the ground, arms on your head and–”


“Why? Because this sort of assault isn’t–”

“No, I mean, don’t you ever bother to ask why? Strange for an unarmed woman to attack an armed man without provocation. Alien capsule present or not.”

He didn’t respond, but she saw she’d engaged his attention and, better still, his curiosity. Slowly she knelt down, picked up a stick, and extended it toward the capsule. As she did, the end nearest to the capsule vanished. She pulled it back and held up the remaining stub.

The man shuffled closer, peering at stick. Without asking permission, he took it from her hand and ran his fingers across the smooth edge. The cut was cleaner than any saw or knife could ever make. He narrowed his eyes and looked at her.

“How did you know that would happen?”

Gabby had no intention of letting him know it had been a guess, albeit an informed one. Better he regard her with an air of mysticism.

“There is energy in the air here. You could feel it if you weren’t wasting so much attention keeping me away.”

“Energy? What are you talking about?”

Gabby sighed. “Look.”

She pointed up and the man’s gaze followed her finger. Above them was the edge of the shimmery umbrella. A dozen metal rods extended back to the main capsule. Between those danced waves of electric blue, a raw visual display of power. Gabby knew that was only the part she could see.

The umbrella overhead ended about foot in front of her, exactly where the stick had sheared off. Indeed, she now saw a line through the dirt and a fine cut running through a few unfortunate sagebrush. The invisible wall was thin as paper, but impassable. Gabby had no idea how it worked, but she had seen exactly what it could do.

The man saw it too.
“Oh shit, is that like a force field? For real? And I just about…” The man turned toward her, rifle lowered. “I owe you an apology, ma’am, and a thanks. Thanks for my life. But you could’ve just told me.”

“You didn’t seem much in a listening mood.”

The man grunted. “Maybe. I guess we’re all a little edgy, right? Never seen anything like this before. Can’t blame us all for forgetting our manners. Speaking of, I never did properly introduce myself. Name’s Duke, Duke Standish.”

He slung his rifle over his shoulder and held out a calloused hand. Gabby pressed her lips together. Nasty to shake, but worse not to. She took the hand.


“Pleasure to meet you Gabby. I guess we’re in this together. But don’t fret–we’re not alone. I’m going to report this. Suppose it goes without saying now, but stay back from that thing.”

Duke pulled out a sleek satellite phone and dialed a number. As he did, he ambled a short ways off, fulfilling that inherent human need for privacy. Gabby didn’t mind, privacy suited her well.

She turned back to the capsule and again gazed up into the canopy of the umbrella. Gabby took in the dazzling waves of energy, so beautiful yet so foreign. Then she caught a glimpse of something within the swirls above. Order, not chaos.

“No, no, no. Don’t put me on hold. Ah damn.”

Concentration broken, Gabby turned to glare at Duke. He wasn’t paying her any mind now, though. His body was angled away, free hand massaging his temples. Looked like he felt plenty bad already, no need for her to help him along.

So, she went back to her self-appointed task. It took a minute to find the pattern again, but find it she did. A swirl against the flow here, a denser field there. Subtle, but definitive.

And Gabby thought she knew what it meant. She glanced over her shoulder to Duke, but he was still focused on his call. Too far away to interfere, even if he started paying attention.

Gabby raised her hands again, fingertips a mere centimeter from the force field. There she felt the current, the power that could not be seen. Then she looked up and eased sideways around the perimeter, using her hands to sense the edge of the field. Soon, she got to her target, the end of the pattern, and there she felt it.

Or rather didn’t feel it. The current evaporated beneath her fingertips. Gabby smiled.

The safe thing to do was to test with another stick, but caution was for the uncertain. Gabby pulled her arms in tight by her side and stepped forward.


03:45, 03:46, 03:47

Duke watched the call time accumulate on his phone. Damn, the operations center was slow right now.

Of course, it wasn’t a surprise. He hadn’t told Gabby, but this was one of thousands of capsules worldwide. All of them had landed within moments of each other. No one seemed to know how many there were, or at least, if they did no one had told him. Everyone was scrambling to get together a sensible response. He’d been dispatched to guard this capsule in lonely old Wyoming. Some were probably near big cities, military bases even. Lots of people, lots of attention.

Frankly Duke was surprised he’d found anyone here at all. This place was miles from anywhere. Only a handful of folks lived within an hour and most were sensible enough to keep their distance. Not like this bizarre young woman. A smart one, but real unusual.

At the thought of Gabby, Duke turned to see what she was doing and got a huge shock. She was on the other side of the capsule, but close to it. Too close. Gabby was inside the force field.

“Hey ma’am, Gabby, stop! What are you doing?”

She kept moving, gaze fixed upward. Duke wanted to charge after her, but he forced himself to stop. He wasn’t exactly sure where that invisible wall began and was in no mood to get disintegrated by some weird alien beam.

He put the phone to his ear again, hoping to reach someone to help, but still heard the steady on-hold tone. At a loss, he could only watch as Gabby circled the capsule, arms held close to her side. That was strange. If she was already past the force field, why wasn’t she heading straight toward the capsule? Then it hit him, she was walking in a spiral, the capsule at the center. He followed her gaze up to the umbrella, trying to see what she saw, but it just looked like a jumbled mess to him. Did she even see anything, or was she gambling?

Guessing or not, a minute later she made it to the capsule. Gabby put a hand on the metal, felt about, then settled her hand in what looked like an arbitrary spot. To Duke’s amazement, the capsule side shimmered, then disappeared, leaving a doorway to the interior. Without a glance back, Gabby stepped inside and the way shut. The outside wall smoothed out, as if nothing had happened.

Duke blinked. A part of his mind tried to reject what he’d witnessed, it was too weird to believe, but he kept his thoughts together. He’d trained not only physically, but also mentally for the extreme stress of war in remote parts of the world. No one had ever prepped him on alien craft, sure, but it was all the same in the end. You never knew exactly what you would find out in the world so you’d better be able to adapt.

His job now was to report what he’d seen. Duke looked back to his phone, the timer still ticking up. Finally, at 06:12 a woman’s voice answered.

“Please state your capsule number.”

“Capsule NCW0074.” Duke had no idea what that meant, but he’d memorized it as ordered when he’d been dispatched.

“Thank you. Report.”

Duke’s thoughts piled up. What to say first? Best to start at the beginning.

“I’ve found a force field–”

“Yes, we already know about the force fields. If that’s all you have, hang up.”

“No, no. Wait. I’ve got more. There’s a young woman who showed up here and she went…she went inside.”

“Inside the force field?”

“No. Well, yes, inside the force field, but I mean inside the capsule.”

“The capsule? Are you absolutely certain?”


There was a pause on the other end. A moment later, a man’s voice broke the silence.

“Sergeant Standish, this is General Lamond. I hear you’ve seen someone enter a capsule?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Military or civilian?”


“Damn. Okay, tell us what happened.”

Tell us. Duke took a deep breath. A group was listening, a group with at least one general. Powerful people. Duke knew without asking that no one else had figured out how to get into a capsule. He was point man on the first alien contact. His heart fluttered, but he could do this. Just relay the facts.

Duke ran through the encounter from the beginning, omitting the part where Gabby had struck him. The rest he reported as accurately as he could. The general didn’t interrupt through his whole spiel.

“Can you follow her in?”

“No. Well, maybe. I’m not exactly sure how she did it.”

“I need you to figure it out. A Ranger team is en-route to your capsule, ETA 48 minutes. They need a way in.”

“And if I do get in, then what?”

“Subdue the civilian, remove her to safety.”

“What about the capsule?”

“Do not engage. The incoming team will attempt to disable the craft. Although…”

The general paused.

“I see here that you’ve been trained in demolitions.”

“That’s right.”

“And do you have a remote trigger device on your person?”

Duke patted the explosive at his hip. “Yes, sir.”

“Well then, make sure to plant that device inside the capsule. Just in case things go sideways.”


“If you get inside, call us back. Your number will come direct through to my line. And son, remember that your actions today could well determine the fate of our world. Do yourself, the Army, and your country proud.”

“Sir.” Duke saluted crisply to the air.

The line went dead and he knew he was back on his own, but now he had a task. Duke stared into the electric umbrella again. He squinted, trying to make out something sensible. A couple times, he thought he saw something, but it quickly disappeared in a twist of blue. Whatever Gabby had seen to lead her in, Duke couldn’t find it.

But maybe he didn’t need to.

He cast his eyes down to the loose dirt. There was a disturbed patch from when he’d tried to grab her and then, leading off to the right, a faint set of footprints. Duke tracked them a quarter of the way around the capsule before they turned inward. Gotcha.

Before heading in, Duke stared at the capsule, then back at the umbrella. He remembered that sheared stick and knew exactly what would happen to him if he was wrong. His stomach fluttered, but he kept a lid on his fear. He didn’t have a choice.

With a steadying breath, he took a step forward, placing his boots exactly in Gabby’s footprints. He checked overhead and saw he was underneath the electric umbrella and still alive. This might actually work. Duke imitated Gabby as best he could remember. Arms plastered to his side he sidestepped around the capsule. He kept his eyes down, focused on Gabby’s path. After Duke completed a full circuit, his confidence grew. He had this. He picked up his pace a little, eager to reach the center.

And he paid for it.

A stab of pain lanced through his leading shoulder. Duke gasped and stopped, holding stock still. He carefully twisted his head and through his peripheral vision saw a tear in the back of his shirt. Fresh blood leaked from a shallow, perfectly flat wound. He checked his other shoulder and saw that it was fine, but the rifle slung over it wasn’t. The butt that normally stuck out behind him was gone, only a smooth black edge remaining.

That’s when he realized how much danger he actually was in. This looked like a wide, open field, but invisible death waited a fraction of an inch behind. Duke swallowed and straightened up, back rigid.

For the rest of the way in, he didn’t stray so much as a hair from Gabby’s trail. Each step he half expected another shock of pain, but it never came. Finally, he made it to the capsule in the center and was met with a metal wall. Of course, it didn’t miraculously open for him, but he knew what to do. Sort of. Duke put his leading hand on the metal capsule and found it to be warm. He ran his hand randomly across the surface, then settled it about where he’d seen Gabby rest her hand. Nothing happened.

Duke closed his eyes. Despite his discipline, fear threatened now. He didn’t want to go back, back through that invisible gauntlet. He wanted, he needed to get inside. Then he remembered Gabby’s earlier words. There is energy in the air here.

He spread his fingers and really felt. Again, he ran his hand over the capsule, but this time it was different. He felt a strong tingling in certain spots, a mild sting in others. Then he sensed a pull, like the currents were drawing his hand to a special location. He let his hand rest there and sure enough, the capsule responded.

The metal shimmered like it had with Gabby, but up close, Duke could see how it worked. A hole opened and, on each edge,, the metal folded itself over and over. The wave spread until a doorway stood open. Duke slipped inside before it changed its mind.

What Duke had seen outside had expanded his concept of the world. What he saw inside shattered it.


Gabby had never been so happy in her life. Daily she contended with the senseless and unimaginative people that made up the bulk of humanity. She avoided these dullards as much as possible, but even that brought her no joy, only isolation. Rare was the moment she could truly connect with anyone who yearned for something greater.

Rarer still was an encounter with a mind beyond her own, a true master of knowledge and understanding. Here she basked in the presence of a system, a mind, so far beyond hers, beyond that of any human, that there was no hope of ever absorbing all its knowledge. An infinite well of intellect, hers from which to guzzle.

At first glance, the interior was unremarkable. The space was small, like a child’s bedroom, but round. The walls and floor were smooth, the ceiling tall, though not the full height of the craft. Every surface glowed with a diffuse light that seemed to have no source, but rather to be within the metal itself.

The instant she set foot inside, the walls, ceiling, and floor lit up. Images flickered, hundreds, thousands of them. Each had a lifetime so short she couldn’t register any individual picture, only collective chaos. Then, to her amazement, images peeled from the walls and flitted through the air before her. Between these, currents of electricity flowed along the walls and through the air.

Gabby stood at the nexus of the activity, arms outstretched, and absorbed everything. Although she only caught snippets of the torrent, she recognized the capsule’s intent. In here she felt the flow not just of energy, but of information. The entire collection of human knowledge was passing through, at a phenomenal rate. This was beyond even the Internet, this was the entire pool of human knowledge and experience gathered all together. The capsule was downloading Earth.

It seemed but a moment she stood there, reveling in the experience, when the human world rudely inserted itself once more into her life. Light filtered in from behind her and she heard a masculine gasp. Her shoulders slumped. Somehow Duke had blundered his way in.

She turned, ready to curse him out, but before she said anything, she saw his eyes. They were wide with childlike wonder. Even this typical man was in awe of the capsule’s display.

“Wow. What is this thing?”

Duke gazed about for another moment before his eyes settled on her. This seemed to jar him from his reverie. He straightened up, looking ever the formal military man. That wonderment was suppressed by duty.

“You need to get out of here. Now,” he said.

“No way.”

Duke stepped closer and Gabby knew she was physically outmatched. She’d surprised him earlier, but she was a thinker, not a warrior. Of course, a superior mind always triumphed in the end. Gabby stepped right up into Duke’s face, standing up on her toes and spreading her shoulders wide.

Duke blinked and Gabby could picture the ponderous thoughts bumping through his head. He wanted to get her out, but she wasn’t going to make that easy. Once he ran through the entire scenario, he’d see the same conclusion she did. Muscle didn’t matter, not with the alien force field outside the craft. He’d have to kill her and she was sure he wouldn’t. Pretty sure.

“Fine, have a minute, but we can’t stay long.”

Gabby kept her face neutral to contain glee at her victory. Still wary, she backed up until she was against the far wall. She didn’t intend to get off any time soon, but neither did she intend to let Duke out of her sight. He kept his eyes on her as well, the two of them in a silent staring match.

Finally, she relented. He was wasting her time. Gabby let her vision shift back to the flow of images permeating the capsule.

Some images lasted just long enough for her to recognize. She saw mountains, cities, people, ancient texts, insects, and a thousand other snapshots zip past her eyes. Then she looked past the obvious. Gabby let her eyes relax and instead of following individual images, she followed the flows. Sure enough, a pattern emerged, a double helix waving around the capsule walls. Gabby shifted her vision, letting that pattern disappear. A new pattern resolved at a different frequency. She tried again and found yet another. It seemed no matter how she looked at it there was another level of intoxicating intricacy.

Gabby was so engrossed that she almost missed it when Duke squatted by the wall, his back to her, and set something on the ground. Almost. Gabby yanked her mind back to the present. She was about to interrogate him, when a single word flashed behind Duke’s head.


For the first time since seeing the capsule, Gabby was truly surprised. Duke must have sensed it because he narrowed his eyes, staring at her with a mixture of guilt and suspicion. He twisted around, but the word evaporated before his gaze touched it.

As soon as Duke’s eyes were back on Gabby, an image appeared behind him, this one stable and crystal clear. It showed the small black device he’d left, then cut to a finger pressing a button, then to an inferno.

“What are you staring at?”

“Nothing.” Gabby shook her head as the image disappeared. She couldn’t let Duke realize that the capsule was communicating with her.

“Look, we need to get out of here.”

Gabby stomped her foot in refusal, but a word appeared again.


No! This wasn’t fair. She’d just gotten here.


“Why?” A question to all those listening.

Duke answered first. “Because we don’t know anything about this capsule. One misstep and we could both end up dead. Not to mention the national security concerns. Do I need to go on?”


Beneath the words the image of Duke’s thumb on the detonator reappeared. Then it vanished, leaving two side by side images. One showed massive ships landing next to a city, a large crowd of people around it. Vague alien shapes exited the craft and shook hands with human officials. The second image showed a zoomed-out map of the world, slowly spinning. As it rotated, blooms of fire erupted, engulfing patches across the globe.

And despite her bitter disappointment, Gabby relented.

“Fine, but I’m not happy about it.”

Duke visibly relaxed. “Okay, so how do we get out?”

He extended his hand, fingers wide, against the nearest wall. Nothing. Of course, he didn’t understand this capsule like she did. Gabby moved to open the craft herself, but before she raised her arm, the wall reorganized itself. A door opened upon the field of sage brush.

Huh, well, everyone got lucky sometimes.

Though the way was open, Duke didn’t move. He peered out, nervous. Oh right, the whole force field thing. Duke still needed her expertise. With a smile, Gabby slid to his side and stared up at the umbrella. She let her eyes relax again, scanning for a minute until a pattern resolved. This time the pattern was not the spiral, but a simple straight line. The capsule’s intent was as obvious as its words.

Fine then. Be that way. Gabby leapt out.


She ignored Duke and stormed away. Her one moment of joy was cut short because the capsule wanted to find out if Duke would try to blow it up. Gabby could have told it the answer—men were aggressive and short-sighted.

Gabby kept walking past the outer edge of the field. Though she didn’t want to admit it, beneath her anger was a great sadness. She’d finally found meaning in her life and just as fast it was gone. She wasn’t sure what she would do.

An arm on her shoulder halted her self-pity.

“Hey, stop. What’s going on? It let us out, just like that?”

With an exaggerated sigh, Gabby stopped. She stared at him for a moment, making him wait. To his credit, he stayed quiet.

“It’s leaving. It’s done.”

“Leaving where? Earth? It just got here. What has it done?”


“Come on, I’m not stupid. I know something big was going on in there. It had pictures of everything.”

“Yeah, that’s right. It hasn’t done anything, but it’s seen everything.”

“Everything. You mean it spied on us? Does it have military information, classified files?”

“I don’t know. Probably. Seems like they’ve got skills beyond whatever encryption your bosses have. If I had to guess, I’d say they know everything we know.”

Duke’s eyes widened. He glanced back to the capsule. Gabby watched again as his brain ran through its churning series. Listen, filter, mull, interpret, conclude. His eyes narrowed. Sure enough, he’d figured it out. Humanity’s secrets were laid barren to an alien machine.

Gabby knew what came next.

“Ma’am, Gabby. Step aside.” There was that authoritative military voice.

She bowed her head and backed up. Duke’s eyes flickered, showing his surprise at her acquiescence, but he didn’t comment. Once she was a few yards away, he pulled out his phone and punched in a number. As he put the phone to his ear, his free hand drifted to his utility belt where Gabby was sure he stored the detonator.

“Come on, come on. Pick up.” Duke pulled his phone away from his ear and looked at it.

“I don’t think you’re going to get through.”

Duke glanced back to her and she pointed at the capsule. He hung his head.

Then he set his jaw, lifted his head, and pulled the detonator from his belt, just as the capsule had wanted. Duke looked at her, as if he expected her to do something. Gabby just gestured toward the capsule with both hands as if to say “after you.” At this point, Gabby was too mad to care what happened.

Duke held the detonator before his face. Gabby watched, anticipating the push of the button, almost willing it. Duke let out a shout and, to her surprise, tossed the detonator aside. Then he slumped over, as if recovering from a marathon.

Gabby raised her eyebrows. Huh, she’d read Duke wrong. Maybe understanding really could triumph over ignorance.

Time to show him the full extent of the situation. Gabby slipped over to where he’d dropped the detonator. She picked it up and raised it in front of her.

“No!” Duke lunged for her. Too late. She pushed the button.

Nothing happened.

“What?” Duke stopped, his arm outstretched.

“Did you really think it was going to let itself get blown up? After coming all this way?”

“Then why let me plant the bomb?”

“It wanted to know what you would do.”

“What I would do…you mean a test. It was testing me? And I must have passed. Oh, thank God.”

Then, the ground shook. The umbrella above the capsule lit up. The gentle blue field intensified to a brilliant electrical current. Lines of energy shot down into the ground, at first a few, then more and more. Soon the entire capsule was obscured behind a blinding wave of power. Gabby shielded her eyes from the glow.

A few seconds later, the current cut off, returning the field to normal daylight. The capsule was still there, but the ground around it wasn’t. The entire area beneath the umbrella was excised, disintegrated by the raw power of the capsule.

Now Gabby could see all the way to the bottom of the capsule. It continued its cone shape down twenty feet or so, then cut off in a flat end, one which was smoking. A satellite about to take off.

“Uh, we’d better get back.” Duke grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

For once, Gabby didn’t resist. She turned and ran alongside him, fast as she could.

An explosion erupted behind them followed by a wave of pressure. Gabby was blasted to the ground. Heat rolled over her, singing her hair. Then, the power dissipated.

Only lightly cooked, Gabby rolled over. The capsule was already hundreds of feet in the air and rising fast. Superheated wake left a white trail of steam behind, much like the track upon arrival. In the far distance, Gabby made out another trail of vapor. The capsules were all leaving, off to places she could only imagine.

“Oh, my goodness. It’s so beautiful.” Duke stared after the capsule.

Gabby rolled her eyes. It was nothing more than elementary physics. Not like what she had seen inside that ship. There was a command, a mastery, of forces that humans were nowhere near achieving. A pool of skill and knowledge that had been at her fingertips, but for a moment, then cruelly wrenched away.

She clenched her fist, feeling the detonator still locked in her hand. She pressed the button again, out of spite. To her surprise, something happened. The detonator changed, shimmering, folding over and over. It rebuilt itself until a perfect cube of the alien metal sat in her hand. Gabby knew that the small cube in her hand held secrets, secrets that could take a lifetime to unravel

The capsule hadn’t been testing Duke after all, it had been testing her.  And she passed.  Now, Gabby held in her hands the greatest reward of all.  She smiled.

Gabby checked to see if Duke had noticed, but he was still enraptured with the launch. She left him staring at the sky and walked off, back toward her hill and her home. Gabby suspected the world wouldn’t hear from the aliens again for generations. Given her prize, she was content with that.


BIO: I like variety. Well admittedly I most love to write science fiction, but on occasion branch out to fantasy and horror. Is romance next? I doubt it, variety has limits, but who knows.  As an author I am new to the scene; I only started down this path in 2013. Back then I worked full time as an electrical engineer. Since then I’ve completed a PhD in Astrophysics and am looking at galaxies by day and writing (and sleeping) by night. I hope my in-depth knowledge of hard science lends itself to unique and realistic sci-fi. And perhaps also to unique, if somewhat less realistic, fanstasy and horror. In my spare time I like everything from reading to mountain biking. I especially love to stay active outdoors, particularly with my family and our pet husky. Together we’ve traveled to many remote areas, though our “to-visit” list keeps growing faster than our “have-visited” list.

You can find all upcoming work on my website, www.cornachionetales.com. You’ll also see a page about a forthcoming board game, one of my several side projects. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MattCornachione (www.twitter.com/MattCornachione) and check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/cornachionetales. Whatever you do, keep enjoying life and keep reading.