Ships Made of Guns

M V Melcer

March 15, 2023

When the invaders appeared, I had no choice. I lowered my head and opened my arms to greet them. Some of us tried to fight, against my warnings, but the orbiting gunships put a quick end to the resistance. I made sure everyone learned the lesson: their ships are made of guns. You cannot stop them.

They settled quickly. They took what was ours and made it theirs. I served them well, and prospered. I offered them our secrets, revealed where the riches were hidden. People spat on me on the streets. I did not care. I was alive.

From my new mansion on the hill, I watched my world transformed. Slowly, the fires died, and ivy grew over the craters. In the ruins of the cities, I threw banquets to honor the oppressors.

Our masters rewarded good service. Citizens who didn’t resist were set free. Soon the streets were busy again, even though the faces were tired and the backs hunched. I didn’t care. We were alive.

And still some tried to fight. I helped track the rebellion. From my screen-lined office in planet security, I spoke to them: be wise. Stay alive. Their ships are made of guns. You cannot stop them.

The insurgents did not listen.

My reward was handsome. In my house, I covered all mirrors with black satin. No more would the traitor glare at me.

Soon gunships crowded the skies, each citizen’s DNA tagged and tracked from orbit. My childhood friends conspired to sabotage the shipyard. I caught them in time. The guns fixed on their DNA, and they vanished.

I pulled down the satin and smashed all the mirrors till my fists bled. I didn’t care. I was alive.

"Our ships are made of guns," the invaders said. "You cannot stop us."

They were wrong.

For I was alive. And I was waiting.

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When their trust in me was complete, I was ready. Alone in the control room, I guided their flotilla of gunships. It’d taken months to alter the program, unnoticed; years to gather DNA imprints from remnants of my banquets. Now all I needed was the last, simple change.

I swapped our DNA markers with theirs. The computer hummed, and the guns retargeted.

This is the day of reckoning. My gun is made of their ships. They cannot stop me.

MV Melcer is a fiction writer and a filmmaker, with primary interest in science fiction. Born in Poland, MV lived in the United States, the Netherlands, and Belgium before settling in the United Kingdom. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, Nature Futures, and others. When not writing, she is working on a degree in astronomy and planetary sciences.

“Ships Made of Guns” originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction.