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Friday Flash Fiction: Life of Diamonds

February 1, 2008

So this Friday Flash Fiction thing sometimes results in a story getting published before I think the idea is fully fleshed out…like this one.  It sorta works but I’m not quite happy how it finishes.  Still there is a lot in this little ditty.  I could actually see it blowing up to a long story…


Crystals.

The whole desert plain in front of him was covered in crystals. There must be billions of them. Trillions.

Crouching down at the edge of the expanse of sparkling pinpoints, Suresh gathered a handful in his gloved hand and lifted them up.

They were all the same, each one identical, each one appearing to be a big fat diamond. 10 carats in size at least.

[Billions of diamonds?! Jeez, I wonder if De Beers will try and keep this place quiet.]

He scooped up a couple more handfuls and put them in his sample bag and made his way back to the research pod.

****

They had only landed yesterday, choosing the site for the unusual bright anomaly on the surface.

None of them had expected a plain of diamonds. Fortune and fear and uncertainty swirled in all their heads as Suresh dumped the bag out on the surface of table in the main laboratory.

“Holy Shit!” said Sarah, odd because she never swore.

“You mean that’s what’s out there…three hundred and..seventeen or so square kilometers of diamonds?” Kurt was as floored as Sara, “Holy Shit!”

Suresh nodded.

“What do we do now?”

100 light-years from earth, they had the time to think about this. They were scientists and explorers, not treasure hunters, but when chance gave you a gift, what can you do?

****

They were all sleeping off their drunk. The party had been impromptu and inevitable.

Suresh woke up in the middle of the night having to take a leak. As he was headed back to his bed, he poked his head into the lab. The lights were off. And yet there was sparkling on the table. He rubbed his eyes, thinking it was the liquor affecting his vision.

But there on the table, the diamonds sparkled. He stumbled forward into the room.

The diamonds shown bright in the dark of the night. He picked one up and looked at it as closely as he could. There was an inner clearness to the diamond, the light was emanating from it but he couldn’t see how.

[Magic!?]

His scientist curiosity getting the better of him, he started to analyze the diamonds. Suddenly the drunk he had was swept away as inconsequential by the addiction of solving a problem.

****

As each of the scientists woke in the morning they made their way down to the lab.

As each heard about the problem each fell into the spell of the hunt. Problem solving was their true calling and the voyage out had been empty of problems to solve. They tackled it with gusto.

They employed all the tools at their disposal: X-ray element analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure, ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy…and others.

****

~Three Days Later

“Extraordinary!”

“That’s the third time you’ve said that Suresh.” Grumbled Sarah.

“I know, but it is isn’t it?”

“Yes, clearly…” Answered Sara.

The seven of them sat around the kitchen table. Emotions mixed, decisions un-made, their future unclear.

“Somebody else’ll find this planet and they won’t have any compunction against sellin’ ‘em.” David spoke up.

“How does that make it right for us to sell them Dave?” Said Sarah

“…I know…I’m just saying.”

“If you can’t offer a solution then think more.”

“Can we hide them?” suggested Kurt.

“How do you collect, much less hide four quadrillion diamonds?!” said an exhausted Sarah.

“De Beers.” Said Suresh.

“Indeed.” Answered Sarah.

****

“I’m sorry Doctor….um…Suresh, but you understand our reluctance to letting anyone into area 7. We can’t afford to let any chance of damage or disruption of the…ah…crystals to occur.” The officious looking man, a little overweight, a little too pale, with a beard that was a little too contrived spoke from behind his desk.

“But, I discovered them!”

“ohhh, you’re that Suresh. Well this does make it a bit sticky. I am only following orders Doctor Suresh. If you go through the proper channels I’m sure you can gain access to the research facility.”

“I tried that but they won’t let me in.” Suresh put his hands on the desk leaning over the little man slightly.

The officious little man looked at the hands for a moment. “I’m sorry, but we mustn’t disturb them must we.”

“I would just like to talk with the current research staff, I have some hypothesis that need discussing.”

“I’m sure there are other means of communication that will suffice for that Doctor Suresh.” He looked at the hands trying to will them off his desk.

“Who do I contact?” he said finally standing up.

“Send all communiqué care of this office.”

“That’s no good…who is doing the research.”

“I’m not at liberty to say.”

“You mean that you’re not at liberty to tell me that NO-ONE is doing any research. De Beers isn’t interested in research, merely preventing the market from being flooded.”

“I’m not at liberty to say Doctor. Now if you will excuse me, I have other appointments to keep.”

Suresh left. [De Beers! Who’s idea was that?! Mine! Crap!]

[At least all the crystals were safe.]

De Beers couldn’t sell them for risking flooding the market, it needed to protect it from all competitors. In this case using the diamond cartel was the only way to protect the crystals from widespread thievery and destruction.

****

[What’s the big deal?] Thought Mr. Perkins, the officious little man from De Beers.

[Who cares what’s inside the diamond? Who cares if there is one person or a thousand or a million in each one?]

He smiled.

[It doesn’t matter, they’re locked away. Does it matter to them whether they are on a desert plain or on a ring setting?]

[No!]

This year’s new product line was going to be extraordinary: LIFE diamonds.

[We can charge whatever we want for them. $100,000 per carat. $250,000 per carat. They’ll pay it, they’ll pay it.]

His smile grew.

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6 comments

  1. I liked – does feel like it could be something longer.


  2. I actually think this would be the pre-story.

    What happens when the diamonds are distributed across the galaxy?

    What do they do?

    Do they have powers? (duh! of course the do otherwise what would be the point in the story.)

    Are the evil? or good?

    lots of stuff in there. I’m gonna noodle on this one a bit.


  3. My head is burning and my body is icy cold. I notice a shovel lying next to me and, above me, something like a wooden cross. I look closer, my eyes find it hard to focus. Slowly, like waiting for muddy water to clear, I see it. A blue and yellow sign, reading ‘Packards – TO LET’.


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