Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
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!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"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.

Galactic Band-aid

When Jedd Cole is not writing stories, one can find him brooding over the pages of other worlds both real and imaginary (but mostly imaginary), usually accompanied by his wonderful wife. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Nebula Rift, Bastion Magazine, The New Accelerator and Bewildering Stories, among others. This is his second story in Daily Science Fiction. Read his creative writing blog at electricdidact.weebly.com or follow him on Twitter @electricdidact.

Don't get me wrong. They came in peace, bringing it in their multiple six-fingered hands. But looking back, we should have known better.
The Aralax are travelers, just like any alien race you hear about in campfire tales, only these don't shoot the first things they see crawling on the planets they visit. The Aralax aren't conquerors or warriors.
They're fixers.
When they first entered the Milky Way, I was a tank ship commander fighting with the Centauri Alliance, my sixth or seventh tour of duty under my sixth or seventh banner. Sides changed all the time back then, and if I wasn't fighting for the Centauri Alliance I could always go with Unitaria or Yeoman, Inc. or the Ur Empire or any number of others. Even Earth was an option, I guess, though technically the planet had been dead for centuries.
War was the best way to make a living before the Aralax came.
The trick was they were indestructible. We sure tried to blow them to kingdom come (as if), but with no success. The Aralax didn't squash us in revenge; they simply stood their ground until we were all out of ammunition.
That's when they went to work.
They taught us how to smelt down our weapons, our warships, our bunkers into the raw materials for homes, dams, plowshares. And they taught us what a plowshare was because none of us had the slightest idea. They helped us reprogram our robots for use in the fields, at the street corners where traffic lights were broken, in old folks' homes.
Even I learned this strange new way. My husband and I found each other (we'd been fighting in different wars before) and settled down. Others came together, learned to raise moderately kind children, build houses, work the fields. (Had there always been fields before?)
The Aralax looked upon us with benevolent alien smiles and, having finished, left the way they'd come. When we looked back, we saw a new galaxy. Perhaps we could actually make it here without the machinery of war.
I remember, of course, the first time after all this that I slapped my husband in the face for something he said or didn't say (the details are foggy). Our children began to forget about the brand new plowshares and turned to the robots for help to slap their own partners. (They all had multiple wives and husbands, you see, and cheated on these regularly--don't we all?)
Yes, we use our hands, the most authentic of weapons. Also we use harsh words, but we find that fists are more effective.
I sometimes miss the Aralax, now that there are no more factions. We are now each of us a faction individually, I suppose, waging our own private wars. You could say the bleeding has begun again under the Band-Aid those nice aliens stuck to our collective finger; but a little bloodletting is often healthy. It's hard to think of a universe without it, in any case. Maybe the Aralax will come to see this at some point in their future, when they are more mature. All in all, I'd say we've come to a better understanding of ourselves, our galaxy, and our place in it.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Author Comments

There aren't any named characters in this story, but sometime during editing I realized that the narrator had a definite personality, and as I went back over it, that character kept punching holes in my proposed parable-like veneer. She knew what really happened; she'd been there, and she had definite beliefs about her experience. And she knew that "Galactic Band-aid" ought to be a satire. But hopefully it's still poignant. Can peace be taught? Can conflict be exorcised from humanity with mere education? Or is strife something that's more intrinsic to the human psyche?

- Jedd Cole
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Galactic Band-aid by Jedd Cole.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

Rate This Story
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.

4.5 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):