Old Friends

Avatar Author: DredZed Read Bio

It would soon be time for the harvest.

The tractor’s intelligence unit understood that was why the old man was upset. It listened patiently as he grumbled.

“Hell of a time for a new war to break out,” the man muttered as the tractor pulled up to the pad where the shuttle stood waiting. The uniformed men at the entrance ramp snapped to attention as they saw him approach. “Hell of a time.”

“I need to go for a while old friend,” the man whispered as he patted the control console. “You’ll have to see to the fields until I get back.”

He eased himself out of the control cabin, careful not to catch his dress whites, and boarded the ship. The tractor trundled away as the shuttle slipped silently into the morning sky.

The tractor never saw the missile as it streaked towards the craft, never saw the fireball plunging to the ground. Even if it had, it wouldn’t have connected those things to its master. It was too focused on getting to work. There was much to be done.

It would soon be time for the harvest.

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Comments (7 so far!)

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  1. Avatar Zoel

    This is pretty good. Is it a Cincinnati reference? (at least I think that’s the roman general I’m thinking of.)

    I’m not sure about dress whites, but I am an uncultured swine so~

  2. Avatar lostsalient

    Aww, poor little tractor. Is it sad story day or something? I like it, though. I might change one or two commas to periods just so it reads a little more smoothly, say between “waiting” and “the uniformed men,” or between “work” and “there was much to be done.”

  3. Avatar DredZed

    Thanks Zoel, I didn’t have any particular historical references in mind when I wrote it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some unintended parallels.

    “Dress whites” is meant to refer to a kind of naval dress uniform. I wanted it to be fairly clear that he was a military man, without having to use the word “uniform” again.

  4. Avatar DredZed

    Thanks for the criticism lostsalient, I just tweaked those two parts, please let me know if you feel it works better this way.

    And yeah, it definitely feels like a sad story to me. Although I hadn’t set out to write a sad story, it just sort of came out that way.

  5. Avatar jesteram

    Ah, the limits of artificial intelligence.

    Dress whites caught me a bit off guard, too. I guess it seemed impractical to me for someone to wear something so pristine on a vehicle so prone to getting dirty. He is in a cabin, though …

    But that’s a minor point. The bookends are really effective, here. They anthropomorphize this sad, little tractor, so eager to get work done for its master.

    Please write more stories.

  6. Avatar astronouth7303

    Wonderful story. Excellent use of limited space.

    Implied descriptions is one of my favorite things about ficly; how much can you say without saying it.

  7. Avatar boxofun

    Great story, loved the character development – and that includes the tractor!