The Master

By Robert David

sfgenreSomeone left the door open again. That’s the fourth person today to jump from the hovercraft and leave the hatch open. I shiver in the chilly draught from outside, my ears buzzing with anger and grudge. Maybe I am too sensitive as I have been told so many times. For the fourth time this day, I close the hatch, grumbling.

I’m tired. After a seven-hour flight, I now return to my king, the one who writes and writes even when he answers the call of nature — the one who writes so consistently, and reads nothing but his own writing.

I suppose I have only myself to blame. It had always been my dream to become an Empire hovercraft pilot. That destiny, or maybe that hazard, inevitably brought me into contact with the Master.

I initiate a slow landing. Crenellated towers with layers of twined ivy rise out of the wheat field at the bottom of the Parent Knot. Another transfer-er descends into the entry Knot. I follow that craft, relaxed, with my peephole open, welcoming the caress of the after-rain sunlight streaming through the porthole of the Control Tower.

It seems Atmospheric Control have started a new simulation under the Master’s window. I pass through the crowns of trees and land near the entry in a concert of happy quavers.

It is time. My palms sweat, a dull pain constricts my chest, and a sneaking discomfort lurks under my forehead. I close the cockpit behind me. A zephyr puffs the smell of dry grass into my nose.

I climb the stone stairs and step onto the first one-way roll. It takes me to the disinfection room, where I see the Master’s face appear from under a fir flavoured steamjet. I’ll meet him as soon as this welcome protocol ends. One of the dodecahedron’s sides slides, and the steam rises towards the evacuation room.

The Master sits at his desk. He writes. He raises his head and releases the marker. It’s the biggest honour for me to be here. I kneel. He arises and I feel his fingers clench my elbow, a sign of familiarity.

‘Stand-up!’ he says. ‘What’s the news?’ The Master’s voice is cold, yet he smiles. His narrowed eyes tell me he is preoccupied.

‘It’s quiet in the tree, Master!’ I say with a quivering voice. ‘No leaf falls.’

He gives me a nod of understanding and tightens the grip on my elbow. His widening smile strengthens my gratitude. One day, if I’ll have nephews, I’ll tell them this story with pride.

‘I am concerned about the Tree’s strength,’ the Master says. ‘I appreciate your promptitude; you’re serving a noble cause.’ He leads me to one of the office’s exits, bearing the same honest smile.

I exit the room of one the most important people to guide my passage through time. In a few hours now, during the highest audience interval, Global Information Services will present to the entire Tree how they welcomed me at the residence in Father Knot. I will be amongst the thirty persons of the day who have managed Knots and Leaves from the entire arborescence in a single summer day, accomplishing one of the most beautiful dreams possible.

I am happy. All my sorrow has disappeared. I really did something for the Tree even though I came back alone. I don’t need to ask myself what the Tree can do for me.

What beautiful words…It’s quiet…And it’s good…

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Robert David

robert davidRobert David is based in Bucharest, Romania. In his spare time, Robert is working to help his short stories to travel accross the world. "The Master" is Robert's second short story published by AntipodeanSF. More about the autor on his website: <>


AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

asff img

Please visit the ASFF website and consider joining for up-to-date info about Australian SF cons, awards, competitions, and to receive the Foundation's newsletter, Instrumentality, and more.


Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 231

A Game Of Strategy
by J.M. Williams

A Human's Life
by George Nikolopoulos

Apha-Sidhe Space Opera
by Russell W. B. Kirkby

by Katrina Pekin

by Kevin J. Phyland

by David Scholes

Manny's Best Friend
by Dianna Zaragoza

The Blood Parrot
by PS Cottier

The Journey
by Wendy Stackhouse

by Eugen M. Bacon

Get Dimension 6


Get Dimension 6 Speculative Fiction

From Coeur De Lion Publishing

Here at AntiSF
Download D6 Now!

"Trust me, you want this free speculative fiction e-zine."
(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF September 2018


Speculative Fiction
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

SF News

Aussie Awards News

CSFG/Conflux 13 Short Story Competition (Closed)
Conflux wanted your stories of 4000 words or under, in any speculative fiction genre, on this year’s theme, which is, BLOOD, GOLD, LIES. More information here: <>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>


Upcoming Aussie Cons

Conflux 13 (2017)
Grimmtales. Canberra 29 September through to Monday 2 October 2017. Guests of Honour: Ellen Datlow, Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren. You can now read the provisional program here <>. More information: <>.

Conflux 13 (2017) Competitions:
Scary Doll competition! This year Conflux is offering an extra creative outlet for those of you so inclined…Riffing off the theme of Guest of Honour Ellen Datlow’s 2015 anthology, The Doll Collection, we would like you to try and creep us right out by creating something horrible for our Conflux 13 Scary Doll competition.
Artshow Awards. The Conflux Art Show, including the E G Harvey Award for Australian SF Art, an annual award sponsored by the Harvey Australian Foundation, offers both new and established artists the chance to display and promote their work, as well as qualify for cash prizes and obtain sales opportunities through the convention. Art works should relate broadly to speculative fiction genre and/or popular culture. More information <>

Genrecon 2017
State Library of QLD 10-12 November 2017. More information <>.

Swancon 2018 (NatCon)
Transmogrification. Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth. (Easter) 29 March to 02 April 2018 . Guests: Kameron Hurley, Ryan Griffen, Barb de la Hunty. More information: <>.

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>

AntiSF will be at Conflux 13 (2017) and Swancon (2018).

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show Podcast

AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50The AntipodeanSF Radio Show delivers audio from the pages of this magazine.

The weekly program features the stories from recently published issues, usually narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Saturday evening at 8:30pm.

You can find every episode online here: 

S5 Box

Login Form

S5 Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

SF Quote

May the Force be with you!

George Lucas, Star Wars