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Burp Sponge

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title. Current one is Burp Sponge and the full story archive.


"Calling it a sponge is really a misnomer, It's more like an anemone."

Alana rolled her eyes, not for the first time, at Jami, then looked back at her screens. The space was too small to be worried about how many times Jami would correct the reporters on the other end of the interview, with them too far under the surface to insist he let that topic go. She was going to lose that argument, she had been losing it for years, best not start again.

"Okay, Dr. Gillan, an anemone it is. But how soon do you expect to find the burp sponge?"

"Oh, we've already one good sized specimen."

"The videos we received yesterday, right?"


"Have you found any more today?"

Alana tensed, fearing what would come next. Jami became agitated when laypeople asked for results faster than any true scientist could actually produce them. Alana smiled to herself wryly with the thought of agitated, knowing the word was too mild for Jami's typical reactions.

She waited for the explosion. When it didn't happen, she looked over to him.

He wasn't looking at the video monitor. He was looking outside the Burp Seeker's only window, the small circle on the side closest to him.

"Dr. Gillan?"

Alana moved over next to Jami. "What is it?" she asked.

"Dr. Gillan?" the reporter's voice came over the camera's speaker. "Dr. Sinn?"

Jami moved away from the window slightly and pointed. Alana glanced out the window, eyes growing big.

"Dr. Sinn? Dr. Gillan?" the voice sounding more agitated when neither answered her.

Alana waved her hands at the camera. Jami looked at her, her hands, and the camera. Realizing it was still on, he moved over to turn it off. "Oh, yeah, gotta go now. Thanks. Bye." He reached for the button on the top of the camera.

"But, Dr. Gillan, what's ..." Jami cut the connection.

"Do you know what this means?" Alana whispered as she stared out the small window.

"That we've been looking in the wrong place?"

"No, that we just found the right place," she responded.

"If we make it out, yes."

The small sphere jerked then shuddered slightly. Alana fell onto Jami, then looked at him, panic rising in her eyes. Jami gently pushed her back upright. "It's okay, we're not caught in the burp sponge's arms yet. A hit doesn't mean that it's grabbed us, just that it's checking us out. We still have a chance."

The sphere shuddered again.

"Have you ever seen a burp sponge this large before?"

"No, I haven't. And I don't want to know how concussive those burps will be, given its size." He paused, appearing to feel for the vessel's movement. Satisfied, he continued. "Shall we make our way out of the giant's arms?"

"Um, yes," she answered, hesitantly.

"Okay, start the scans. I want data sent to the surface if we don't make it. This is one hell of a giant burp sponge. The gases it gives off could be worth more than a decade of our grants." He paused again. "Well, get going."

Alana started flipping switches.

The Burp Seeker jerked and shuddered again. Dr. Jami Gillan looked around at the small vessel, so far under the surface of the water, and wondered if it was about to become his tomb. He looked at Alana, then started turning dials.

Maybe, but not today. It was only an anemone, not a sponge.

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