Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
Make the universe a better place! Join Daily Science Fiction for only $15 / year, or donate any amount.
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Coke or Pepsi

The alien was found on the fifth planet, circling a dying star. The creature, like the star around which its home orbited, was fading. Every human in the system fought for a chance to question the creature, however it was old and tired and said that it would only allow one person to question it. In the end a drawing was held to determine who would have this amazing opportunity. The winner became an overnight celebrity. He was swamped with messages demanding to know what he would ask the last of this great race. Finally he issued a statement, he would ask the meaning behind one of the race's most commonly found written symbols.
The language of the alien had so far been impenetrable to human analysis. The only information that could be gathered was how frequently symbols were used. For some reason this symbol dominated their writing. It was discovered carved into stone walls, long abandoned holographic projectors shone the symbol, in one prominent instance the symbol was blasted into the side of a moon, so that any passing spacecraft could see it from orbit. For centuries debate had raged over the symbol's significance. Some felt that it must be the name of the alien's deity. Others felt that it was the unified theory, the long sought after scientific explanation of all aspects of our physical universe. A small group of people even began a religion based around the symbol. When the contest winner announced that he would question the alien about the symbol's meaning, the human population waited with baited breath.
The day finally came for the man to pose his question. He was wary as he approached the creature. It was massive, dozens of tentacles sprouted from its bulbous body. A body that seemed to make the very planet shudder as it breathed heavily. It was nearing the end now.
The man held up a portable hologram of the symbol and bowed.
"Please, ancient one. I ask for you to tell me the meaning of this symbol, which your kind spread so widely." The device attached to the creature's side translated his speech into the dull groans of their language. It paused for a moment and then answered slowly.
"This symbol is the name of a drink that was widely enjoyed by my people." The man stared blankly at the massive creature. The alien whose species had achieved wonders that the human race as yet could only dream. Before the man could think of anything else to ask, it emitted a hitching rumble that sounded suspiciously like laughter and then relaxed and sank into the ground, becoming still and silent.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, March 15th, 2018
We hope you're enjoying Coke or Pepsi by N.T. Lawrence.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction does not have a paywall, but we do have expenses—more than 95% of which are direct payments to authors for their stories. With your $15 membership, less than 6 cents per story, we can continue to provide genre fiction every weekday by email and on the website to thousands of readers for many years to come. You may also choose to support us via patreon. Tell me more!

Support Daily Science Fiction

Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.7 Rocket Dragons Average


Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us