Black Box Blues is a sci-fi short story about a family whose starcar breaks down in a back-water solar system and are forced to seek help from the locals to get on their way again.
Published Mar. 17, 2016 by Reader’s Gazette.
Just as we emerged from the gateway two indicators came to life on our car’s console. The green light indicated that this cluster’s nav data had been picked up and stored in memory. The red one, that a piece of the car’s micronics had fizzled out of existence. Something profane immediately came to mind, but since the kids were on board, I kept the thought to myself.
“Something wrong, dear?” Rhiannah, my wife, sat in the front seat opposite mine.
“I’m checking it out.”
I typed a command on the keyboard and the computer ran a diagnostic check on all the car’s circuits. A moment later the results of the check-up scrolled down the console’s video screen. It displayed the part number of the defective module, what circuit it was in and on what board that circuit would be found. It also displayed a disheartening message:
THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL CIRCUIT IMMEDIATE REPAIR IS MANDATORY.
This time the profanity slipped out. Read the rest…
Black Box Blues pokes fun at the modern trend in automobile design – as seen by old shade-tree mechanics like myself who tend to prefer older cars and trucks because of their ease of repair. That was the impetus for this story, but the tale itself is about Tighe’s adventures with a less advanced species of beings as he searches out parts that will work in a cobbled together patch-up of his wife’s new starcar so they can resume their family vacation. I hope you enjoy it. D.B.