My short science-fiction story, “Gentle Push,” is now available in Kindle format through Amazon as a 99-cent stand-alone short story. The story was first published in 2012 by Mindflights, and appeared earlier this year in the print magazine, Tales of the Talisman, which is still also available through Amazon for $7.00. Edited by David Lee Summers said of Gentle Push: “John C. Conway shows us that saving humanity sometimes requires a willingness to meet long lost loves and that such willingness can be a selfless act.”
Artist and author Laura Givens provided the stunning color illustration for the story. Givens is, among other things, the Art Director for Tales of the Talisman, and examples of her work for it and other venues can be found at her site HERE.
“Gentle Push” recounts a unique encounter between an ancient and highly advanced alien and a lone, eccentric human. The meeting is important for a lot of reasons, but nothing near what the alien expects. It begins:
I encountered the leading edge of retreating human vessels 20 light hours from Delta Pavonis—a steady column bound for Earth, where they believed we could protect them. My mission would determine if that faith was justified, and if so, for how long.
As I skirted the system’s rocky halo, I spotted the small starship drifting quietly in the mid-outer dust cloud—a tug with strong field generators fore and aft. It was not preparing to flee. I looked closer. Its artificial environment was intact. Its engines were functional. It had a single human occupant, alive and well as far as I could tell.
I hailed it. “Do you require assistance?”
It responded abruptly: “Leave me alone.”
It was my first direct conversation with a human, and not what I expected…
The alien creature is kept guessing throughout the encounter, but ultimately learns some very important things about these new beings in the universe that call themselves humans. I hope you enjoy the story.