Starting Point: The Long Commute


Olaf peeled the sticky electrodes from his forehead, detached the tubes from his abdomen, and yanked a further three mucus covered pipes from his throat. The long commute to work was over, and now he could eat and breathe for himself.

Pulling himself out of his chair, Olaf discovered he was sticky with sweat and other bodily fluids, as usual. There was just enough time for a quick shower while the ship auto-docked. Heavy traffic in the Procyon System had made him a few decades late, and he knew that Mr. Honcharenko would want to see him before the end-of-century meeting.

How would you continue this story?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

  • DocWallace

    My first comment and I’m in a hurry this morning, but a bell “peals” and something sticky “peels”. Blessings, –Doc

    • Oops. Well spotted. I’ll fix that now.

  • Leonardo Faria

    When Olaf walked into Mr. Honcharenko’s office this looked at his watch and grimaced in annoyance.
    “I do not like to wait, sir”.

  • Steven Lyle Jordan

    First, I’d establish that Mr. Honcharenko had retired, and had been replaced by Ms. Pi. Then, in their meeting, Olaf would discover that a change in regime had rewritten his job significantly, and he had to make a choice: Accept a much lower position for less pay; or accept the duties of a new position…which would require him to commute back home for training.

  • Why not just live on the right planet?

  • Jacob Winter

    My main question is how can there ever heavy traffic in space? It’s not like a shipping lane, how could there not be enough space in space?

    He’s what I came up with!

    Maksimilian Dostovalov sat in sleek office, in a building adorned in an elegant functionalist-utilitarian-minimalist (FUM) style promoted by Gosplan for the last century, during the reign of Georgy Korotkov.
    He had received a notice on his clunky green-screened computer from his Chinese secretary “sir, we have detected the return of the CCKK Olenin within orbit”
    “The Olenin? That damn ship went missing decades ago…”

    Olaf Krahl panicked, he was thirty years late…how would his superiors react? Why was the ship late for that matter?
    The Olenin was a mere container ship containing agricultural implements and some trucks for the planet, which were to work in tandem with sovkozy established on the planet.
    How did the planet fare without the implements, Olaf wondered? But more importantly what caused the ship to be late?
    He rushed into the flight deck, and sat down in the captain’s chair, and hammered at some keys on the lo-fi computer. Above was a purple colored planet with clouds like cotton-candy about the size of Saturn, orbiting a stable k-type star.
    But now was not the time for sightseeing, he wanted to hail with the planet and get some fresh air. He entered his password, and requested audiovisual contact. “This captain Olaf Krahl, of the Olenin, out of the Sverdlov system.”
    Korotkov responded, his face fuzzy on the screen, buffering “We read you, Captain Krahl, we have reported you vessel missing.”
    “Missing? I’m only late…”
    “We are boarding, we will confiscate the flight recorder for investigation of the incident.”
    “I was to contact Andrei Honcharenko, Secretary of Agriculture on Valeriya.”
    “Yes, while you a painfully late, aren’t you? Oh well, I suppose you will want to proceed to the surface for some R&R. it is rather fortunate another shipment of supplies from the Vannikov System had arrived on schedule, although this occurrence has disrupted the implementation of two Five Year Plans. Well yes, Honcharenko is on vacation, it’s summer here, and the Politburo is summering. I will leave a message for his secretary.”
    “He’s still alive?”
    “Yes, but old…but I’m sure he will be happy to have closure on this matter. We’ll get you on the next shuttle to the surface, Captain.”

    Honcharenko was now an old man, at eighty, his hair was grey, and his face was wrinkled, but he looked sixty, maybe due to the fair weather on Valeriya.
    He leaned over the railing, overlooking a beach, smoking a cigar, on a ruthlessly terraformed island with little of the nasty alien life left. Behind him was a large spa building that had been built in the brutalist fashion. The sunrise looked beautiful over the bay coupled with the gas giant. Krahl felt the same way, relieved.
    “I still can’t believe it was such a miscalculation.”
    “Such things aren’t prepared for because they aren’t expected.”
    To think it was something so minor, as automatic shields depleting the supply of Helium-3 due to a starquake on a distant magnetar that had produced a maelstrom of otherwise deadly particles. If those shields hadn’t activated, the Olenin could’ve been lost in deep space. “Better late than never, as they say.” Said Honcharenko. “After all, those tractors will still provide a boost to the next Five Year Plan, so I can deliver a good report to the Central Committee when it convenes for the autumn of 2499.”


    Written in an alternate history combined with future history. Paul Von Hindenburg seeks a second terms a chancellor of Germany, elected to a partial second term in 1932, preventing the Nazis from seizing power, and they split between a hard socialist faction with Ernst Rohm and Otto Strasser, and a conservative faction led by Hitler, but both factions lose funding. In 1936 a Communist government is elected, and Germany goes Communist. Germany and the Soviet Union go on to partition Poland and conquer the Balkans. Italy abandons the Stresa Front and the Soviets agree to give Trieste and Dalmatia from Yugoslavia in exchange for betraying France and Britain, which are unprepared for such a gigantic war, so they sit out.

    Henry Wallace, who becomes president after the death of Roosevelt in 1941, is indifferent to Soviet expansions. The Soviets take advantage of this to wage the second Russo-Japanese War, taking Manchuria and Korea. It will take until 1945 for an amphibious operation to take mainland Asia. The election of internationalist Thomas Dewey in 1944 will bring an end to Soviet expansion and the US vows to defend Western Europe, the two empires exist in a hyper Cold War indefinitely.

    Thus the world from Germany to Japan is controlled by a giant Soviet Union.

    Boris Vannikov played a role in overseeing the development of the Soviet atom bomb, in this timeline he also oversees the space program in the 1950s . Valeriya is the wife of Georgy Malenkov, who was Stalin’s designated successor, but lost the power struggle to Nikita Khrushchev in 1953 and was stripped of all his posts in 1957. In this timeline, Stalin dies a year earlier, and Malenkov is in a better position to seize the reigns. The Soviet Union survives, and well into the future thanks to his intelligent leadership and the sheer size of Comintern.

    The lo-fi tech ascetic is borrowed from Alien and Alien Isolation, which I simply enjoyed. Olaf is a German name, but the Germans, despite being Communist, are a valuable member of Comintern due to the exceptionaly quality of their goods, in this case tractors.

    The CCKK Olenin is named after Sergei Olenin, the protaganist of Leo Tolstoy’s short story, The Cossacks.

  • Jake Rocknic

    Id make Mr. Honcharenko a very “mean” man who gets straight to the point
    and have an important job a decade late not done, and he has to do it