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.

art by Jonathan Westbrook

The Professor's Boy

Erik Goranson studies English at the University of Northern Colorado, though he yearns to be a rocket man. Find out more about him at erikgoranson.com.

I found the professor in a hospital bed. His boy sat next to him, teary eyed, clinging to his pale fingers. The professor was consoling the boy until he saw me. He cast a knowing look in my direction and sent the boy off to fetch some water.
I found his scrutiny delightful. My disguise was impeccable, but even in his deteriorated state, the man remained astute. He offered a promising harvest.
"There's hunger in your eyes," he said. "You're a collector, aren't you?"
I nodded.
"You'd best make this quick. My son will be back soon."
"I'll manage," I said.
I injected the nanomites through his IV. As the tiny machines worked, he never broke eye contact. I watched the glimmer in his eyes slowly fade away. By that point, the data had already started streaming back to me. The rush of knowledge was exquisite. I reveled in it.
"Who are you?"
I recognized the voice. The boy had returned.
"A friend of your father," I said. "I came to see him off."
The boy looked at me with his father's piercing scrutiny. I gestured towards the body to avert his gaze.
"But it seems I'm too late," I said.
The boy saw the professor's lifeless stare. At once, he was crying again.
"No," he said, racing to the body. "No--he was just--I was only gone for a second."
I moved to leave, but something tugged at me. Something inside. The boy now wailed into his father's body, but I was compelled to stay.
"I never got to apologize," he said. "I was a disappointment--I never got to--I didn't mean to--"
"He was proud of you," I said involuntarily. "He thought you were a fine son."
The boy wiped snot on his hand. "He did?"
"I know it for a fact," I said.
He resumed wailing into his father's chest. The tugging within me ceased.
The sensation felt curiously familiar. I wondered if the nanomites digitized some emotion by mistake. Then again, every brain is uniquely complex. Feelings were bound to slip through. Leaving the room, I noted to omit them from the data.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying The Professor's Boy by Erik Goranson.

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.

4.7 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):