Day Thirty-Two – Rabbits and Other Lies (or, Rockclimbing for Krakens)

sykr

After seventeen weeks of unemployment, and numerous hours of standing in lines at the LRC recruitment facility, Ken Baxter has given up. The Labor Replacement Corps have denied his entry into their ranks, citing over-qualification and a full roster of specialists in his field.

“I didn’t want to be a Lurker anyway,” he tells the old sot next to him. Downing another third of his pint, Ken looks at himself in the dusty mirror behind the rows of vodka bottles. His beard is ratty, his eyes bloodshot. He doesn’t look much more attractive than the alcoholic next to him.

“I mean, I see the benefit of artificial assistance, the freedom it allows for man to pursue his intellectual evolution,” Ken continues, “but my God!”

The pub is mostly empty, and Ken’s voice echoes into oblivious ears and empty glasses.

Another third down.

Ken glances at his drinking companion–the one who has not acknowledged him since he entered two hours ago. Annoyance is chewing Ken’s spine as he eyeballs the man’s untouched Maudite. Waste! he screams to himself. More waste, more empty experience!

“So what line of work are you in, sir?” Ken queries to the man next to him.

The man does not answer.

Ken twitches slightly and empties his glass. For a moment, he stands on the precipice of a decision to lay into this silent drunk, but he holds himself back. Ken has had enough fights for the week. Hell, it seems like every day there’s a riot at LRC. Men don’t like the word “obsolete” as it applies to them directly. Oh sure, they’ll shake their heads sadly at those losing their jobs to downsizing and redundancies, but take a man’s career and give it to a robot–

“Fucking robots!” Ken barks, unable to stifle the outburst.

–well, that just doesn’t swing off the tree at an angle a grounded man can handle.

The bartender’s nowhere to be seen. Ken cranes his neck around, trying to catch sight him. He then notices he’s alone in the pub, save the mute next to him.

“You don’t see robots drowning their sorrows in pubs. You don’t see robots having to go home and tell their wives and kids that GloFed is taking their house, or their aircar. You don’t see robots forced to live in GoodeLife hives and reduced to being carted around in Factotums with no manual controls.”

Ken rolls his empty glass around on the top of the bar, trying to attract the attention of the bartender.

“A robot can’t do my job, not like I can. A robot can’t see the improbable as a threat, it sees logic. It doesn’t look into a whirlwind of numbers and see a bull or a bear, it just sees numbers. Robots can’t dance with chaos like I can, it’s all order and lines and repetitive–“

Ken interrupts himself to bellow “Bartender!”

To his shock, an android, one of those torso units on a roller ball pops up from behind the bar.

“How can I help you, sir?” the robot inquires with simulated geniality.

Ken’s twitching again. He’s forgotten. He’s forgotten that when he came in this place, he wanted to turn around and leave. But, he stayed, and he took the drinks this metal thing gave him.

Ken has given up, remember.

“My glass is empty,” Ken points out.

“Indeed it is, sir,” the robot responded, and then was silent. It did not take its black optical receptors off of Ken. Seconds passed.

“So fill it up,” Ken expelled with impatience.

“I regret to inform you that you have reached your limit, sir. I have been programmed to cease the dispensation of alcoholic beverages to those patrons who have exceeded the limit set by this establishment.”

“What?” Ken asked, his mind effectively and completely boggled. “What’s the limit?”

“Seventeen pints, sir,” the robot responded happily.

What the fuck? Ken thought to himself.

It took a bit longer for the expletive query to make its way to his lips.

“What the fuck?” he said to the robot. “I’ve had three!”

“Your calculations are incorrect, sir,” the robot countered. It whirred and bleeped and chittered a moment before removing a long strip of paper from somewhere behind the bar. “Here is your tab.” The robot waves the bill in front of Ken. “As you can see, you have paid for and consumed thirteen Maudites, and three Blue Moons.”

“That’s sixteen!” Ken bellows.

“Sir, your fourteenth Maudite sits untouched before us.” The robot gestures to the Maudite in front of the immobile patron in the next stool.

“That’s his! You put all those Maudites on my tab! They’re his!”

The robot rolls back and forth momentarily on the ball that keeps him balanced.

“Sir, I am aware that you are a Tchamenian,” the robot states flatly.

Ken quivers with rage, and also defeat. “You’re just so damned smart, aren’t you!”

As absently as a man would don a thick coat, Ken reaches over to the man who still appeared to be another patron, and with familiarity grabs this “patron” and begins pulls it over him. The seams open at his touch, and what had appeared to be just another drunk slips comfortably over the inner Ken Baxter. The face adjusts as the symbiotic organisms synchronize again.

His voice a deeper, raspier baritone, crawling out different lips past a different ratty beard, Ken spits, “Fucking robots!”

Ken chugs the warm Maudite, then exits the pub, slamming the door behind him.

Outside, he trips over a Lurker who is cleaning vomit off the steps leading down to the street. Ken recognizes the vomit as his own as he takes a spill. Enraged, Ken scrambles up and barks, “Fucking humans!”

No respect for aliens here, Ken. Especially not former stockbrokers.

Especially not assholes too proud to admit they are obsolete, and too disconnected from chaos to adapt.

 

Day Thirty-One – Absolutely the Green Frog Bureau, LLC

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This is my Texas Summer piece for this year. I struggle to write a straight story anymore, and why should I make the effort? We are not denizens of a straight reality. Think otherwise? Well then, you’re the crooked soul, aren’t you, dearie?

Enjoy.

Interested in my other Texas Summer pieces?

Here they are:

Frozen Texas Summer

The Epic and Sudden Fall of the Gant Family

Heat.

It’s what I know as the tunnel widens and the door at the end of this long journey begins to open. It’s the brief end to a long day. Eventful and darkened with the wet sheen of closure, this is the day I become more than a man.

In darkness, I slip away into abodes of phantom clones of my ipseity. In darkness, I find opportunity to slumber.

As quickly as it passes, the day comes again on the orange.

I open my eyes to the low angle sun at perfect angle to beam through the dusty blinds and into my face. I still have blood on my hands. This burlap sack I pulled from the barn is musty; it’s grid is pressed into my face temporarily.

The cicada chorus, the symphony of the Texas Summer, is muted by the water-stained sheetrock of this abandoned house. The trees and ligustrums are fighting for canopy distinction above it, as mosquito larvae dance a jig in old buckets nearby.

I have my assignment, passed down through time channels, space eddies, past a million stars.

And, in my head I hold the memory, like red ochre on the wall, of man’s first vengeance.

Lacy is thick on thigh and tight around the middle, but she’s no heavyweight in the fat department. This woman is hard. Her dark hair falls in the perfect unkempt curl of obliviousness, and she wears it like a gold-laced dolman over black lingerie.

She’s taken up with some Mexican who tools around Coyanosa in a 70s model Cadillac convertible, orange sparkle. I gather from the locals that they call him Luison, after some Guarani legend. I’ve tailed him a few times, going so far as Los Hornillos in Mexico. Luison deals in flesh, but on occasion he gets himself into the drug trade if the money is right. Between Los Hornillos and the filthy waters of Miguel Hidalgo, Luison has a modest ranch tucked in a valley where he trains fighters and assassins, but mostly, from what I’ve observed there, Luison just uses the house there as his own personal Xanadu.

After the third time I witnessed a truckload of beaten women delivered in a rusty bobtail, I very nearly blew my cover and charged in, guns blazing.

Luison is not my target, though.

Lacy is hot molasses and hellfire, poured into leather and lace. She gyrates her body and bucks her hips, threatening to rip through the minimalistic clothing. She drinks black coffee and cherry pie at the diner every morning, waiting for Luison to arrive with his orange sparkle yacht and retinue of greased men. I know that a few of the locals have been in that dark embrace, in filthy stalls, on splintered stacks of pallets, between steam tables and grills. For Luison to know this would mean death for any one of them, and they know this. Pinch Luke, the diner owner, makes himself the size of a pea when the thump of conjunto begins to vibrate the diner’s front window. Maybe its this Mexican’s manhood they fear, or maybe its his rumored connection to the Sinaloa cartel. Either way, the diner empties dramatically each day Luison is around town.

It has taken me several months to track Lacy down, and I’ve spent a good deal of time attempting to understand why she does this, why she has fallen into this pit of debauchery with snakes like Luison. I tracked her here through a blog of all things, where she painted the page red with descriptions of dark Southern sexual escapades from the swamps of Louisiana to the dusty oilfield pop-ups of West Texas. She is a vile but undeniably attractive writer, grabbing at a man’s loins with the razor claws of a cat with a thousandfold more intensity than a four-hour bondage porn and makes you want to dive through the screen into a hell of pixel ecstasy, circuit envy, electronic nothings licked into your mind through the back of your throat.

I am biting my lip even now, knowing where I’ve been with her in my mind.

The thump of conjunto cacophony, warped by the sound of welding and sawing coming from Deep Andy’s shop across the street, stirs me from my thoughts, and from my position atop the old abandoned utilities building, I resume my scouting of the scene.

Luison is alone, and the familiar doppler effect is hastened as his orange sparkle yacht blows past the main intersection at a heated eighty miles per hour. Careering into the diner lot at an angle, handbrake employed gingerly, Luison’s car slams into a roughneck worktruck parked at the diner’s front window.

Sweat’s pouring into my eyes, and I have to remove the binoculars from my eyes to dry my brow. The asphalt from the roof is baking me alive. I’m only just noticing the heat as the scene heats up to match the Texas sun’s relentless assault. How long have I been here?

Luison is out of his car and in his hand is an MP7 flecked with blood. I take a cursory glance to the car itself and notice that blood is everywhere on the dark orange leather.

Things have come to a head.

Casting my binoculars aside, I vault over the edge of the roof and roll to my feet in a controlled motion. The Hayabusa I thieved from Wold Benny back in Stephenville is parked between the utility building and the old feed lot out of sight. I make for it, loosing the plasma rifle from its lock at the bike’s side and throwing its strap over my shoulder. I anticipate this will be the last time I will need any of these primitive tools.

Walking the Hayabusa up to the corner of the feed lot office, I afford myself a good view of the scene as it unfolds.

Luison drags Lacy out of the diner, her too-tight red dress is ripped and I suck in breath as I catch a glimpse of long thigh. The Mexican throws her roughly into the car, but with unnatural speed, old Lacy is back out again. Her left fist connects and Luison hits the dirt lot, dropping his weapon.

I hear the sound of engines down the street but dismiss it.

Luison is up and grabs Lacy again, this time pointing towards the direction I heard the engines. This time, she pushes him into the car and deftly throws herself into the back seat.

Curiosity peaked, I turn my attention to the far end of town where I see a Unimog flanked by three black SUVs bearing down on us. The Cadillac is gone in a cyclone of dust and the Unimog and its cronies are in pursuit. From out of the windows, cartel men appear wielding Uzis.

Luison is running for his life.

I lurch out into the open and follow the pursuit. I’ll be damned if a gang of cartel scum is going to deny me my bounty.

The road north out of Coyanosa tees into another road before you can pick up another road to Monahans east of there. Luison cuts the sharp angle with a wide fifty degrees at the start. His yacht kicks up a wall of dust that the Unimog disappears into, and I have no choice but to follow.

I catch sight of the slope early, but in the dust, I can’t see where to angle and I brace for flight. Airborne, I do my best to maintain level on impact. The back wheel kicks out when I come down, but I recover and continue pursuit. I toy with the idea of jetting past the cartel vehicles, but as I ponder my approach, I hear the whine of bullets nicking past. They think I’m with Luison.

I carefully pull the plasma rifle around off my shoulder and level it at the first SUV I’m coming up on. Shrapnel ricochets up off the blacktop as the cartel gunmen try to take out my tires. I quickly aim and fire.

The SUV’s back left side disappears in a sharp white pulse of energy. Half a man slips out of the vehicle’s new hole, and, now missing three quarters of a wheel, the SUV skids into the ditch.

Now, the other SUV’s occupants have sight of me, and they turn the barrels of their guns my way. Before they have a chance to take a shot at me, I unleash another bolt of hell towards their front end from a diagonal just behind at the their left. Most of the SUV disappears and the rest of it flips upwards, end over end. I risk the carnage and fire my bike past the metal disaster.

Just the Unimog lies between me and my target. The monster vehicle has been customized and is rolling a hell of a lot faster than it should be. I’m admiring this when I see the telltale shimmer of Lacy’s power not fifty yards ahead.

So, she’s that desperate, I surmise. I curse and get my weapon up just in time to fire a pulse into the energy wall. Just ahead of me, the Unimog collides with the invisible barrier and erupts in violence–a half sphere of explosion, not penetrating the wall at all. My quick thinking has afforded me a break in the barrier, but the Unimog’s fiery death throes force me through at an angle. I lose the Hayabusa and take flight unwillingly. The blacktop eats me, and I have the experience of my fractured tibia, jutting out of my skin, scraping against the hot mess of road. The tumble lasts for what seems like hours, but in a short second I grind to a halt, broken and helpless.

Ahead, I catch a glimpse of the orange convertible swerve to a stop and reverse its course back to me. The rear left tire crushes my hand as it pulls up next to me. My plasma weapon is yards away and sparking in its own death throes.

“Holy shit,” Lacy drawls out with her practiced honey cajun tongue. “What brings you out this far, sugar bear?”

Luison is out of his car and kicks me in the side. “Who the fuck are you?” he barks at me. I don’t like his greasy hair, and I can smell him for the first time.

No, I’ve smelled this before. I’ve mistaken his stench for something unpleasant left uncleaned in one of the ramshackle buildings making up the ass stain that is Coyanosa.

“This is my friend,” Lacy says, pushing Luison back from me. “He came a very long way just to see me, didn’t you sweetie?”

The Texas sun plays a duet with the hellfire of trauma that is what is left of my body. In the distant, the mirage of the blacktop looks like Lacy’s magic all around us.

Luison roughly pushes her aside and levels his MP7 at my head. His intention is to kill me, but Lacy has other ideas. Luison’s neck snaps and I can see his ribcage buckle. Lacy hasn’t touched him. The Mexican falls to the ground dead, his weapon clatters against the blacktop and I can see the heat mirage off the barrel.

Lacy crouches beside me and I can see her lack of underwear. I smile. Fortune smiles on me this day, for this and one other reason.

“You can’t catch me, Wilkes. Not you, not any of you. Not here, or elsewhere in this backwoods galaxy. Not now, and not ever in infinity,” she teases. Her hot hands caress my face, letting the blood stick to her soft skin. “If it were possible, it wouldn’t be a paradox.”

I cough blood and struggle to speak. In my hand, I tickle a switch and I can feel the throb of this paradox’s final lifebeat.

“What’s that, sugar?” she says, leaning over.

I take one last look at her cleavage, and then touch the stasi-tec device to her upper thigh.

“Circles are a bitch,” I grunt.

Lacy’s eyes have widened, but they are frozen now. She teeters and falls forward, her breasts hard and cold as ice now against my face. I giggle, then gasp for air. With effort, I shove her off me and take a few moments to breathe.

The Texas sun is directly over head, and its flaying my flesh with dull and rusty wood planes. The insect chorus, not as familiar to me now as the cicada drone, is singing my credit music.

I reach down an slip my communicator from its sheath with broken fingers.

I take a deep breath. “Target down. Need extraction.”

“Affirmative,” comes the reply. “Standby.”

Two beings shimmer into existence next to me and the orange yacht. One easily hefts Lacy’s frozen form from the blacktop before just as quickly disappearing into nothing.

“You’ve sustained serious injury,” the thing says to me. I can’t see through its visor, but I know its a bug. Why can’t they send out a humanoid every once in while. “Standby for realignment.”

The snap of bones and white burn of mended flesh brings into existence a primal scream that wanders up from my gut. I’ll take death next time, I think.

A few minutes pass before the pain allows me to think. By then, the bug is gone and I’m alone in the carnage of the aftermath of my occupation. I take another deep breath, and I sit up.

Not bad, I think to myself.

I stand slowly, forced to lean against the Cadillac for support as newly existent flesh sorts out its purpose.

Again, I’ve got to smile. “O Fortuna,” I say.

Luison’s keys are still in the ignition.

Day Thirty – Quality Stock Tips From an Okapi (or, Mr. China Has Seven Splinters)

wyw

TRecTm5.2218.14.11.x.x

Rprt -22.22.511.5.5.167.3.7.vv.20491

Earth Interplanetary Logistics and Colonization – Robotic Recon Team – Report – Assmt. 17501.R.TR73

||\\|| BEGIN REPORT ||\\||

WRECKAGE OF ARTEMIS LANDER : MSN TtnRcn2203 : CONFIRMED

ENVIRONMENT SEALS BROKEN

ID OF FOUR OF FIVE TEAM MEMBERS CONFIRMED

DOCTOR ABRAHAM TOLLE: DECEASED, BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA

PTY OFR RAYMOND GILFREY: DECEASED, CAROTID ARTERY SEVERED

SPCL MICHAEL DONALSON: DECEASED, IMPALED WITH SURVEY APPARATUS

SPCL ADRIANE FULLER: DECEASED, EVIDENCE OF STRANGULATION

CAPT DAVID TEAGUE: UNCONFIRMED

ANOMALOUS DATA FOUND IN DATA RECORDER WITH DATESTAMP AFTER CRASH

SIGNS OF HABITATION POST CRASH

OXYGEN TANKS DEPLETED

LIFE SUPPORT OFFLINE

ALL BIO SPECIMENS DECEASED

DECRYPTION OF DATA RECORDER UNDERWAY

||\\|| END REPORT ||\\||

DeskMsg:F:AdJaEvEILC:T:GoGrAdTC2UM

doesn’t make sense, where did this data come from?

decrypt was confirmed. appears it was validly entered from the lander

crazy shit. firestorm here

wtf happened up there?

Baseday 32 | 13:20:08

After my reconnaissance of the Southern plateau (SW34.S12.13’1”), I returned to our camp intending to deliver Rover 7 to the garage for maintenance. I sustained damage to the left rear wheel assembly when the rover impacted a large mineral deposit hidden by loose gravel. After an initial evaluation, I decided the wheel, while not functioning efficiently, would still perform well enough to make the trek back to the garage to be repaired by the robot team.

Though I hesitate to make entries into this log that are personal in nature, I have found that my communications with the AI psychologist suite have not settled my mind on certain issues affecting my work here at Titan R3V. I record these comments here as an exercise in airing grievances, and not as an accusation of wrongdoing.

When I returned to hab from my reconnaissance, having already dropped the rover off with the droids. I witnessed Capt. Davies and Chief Teague in apparent coitus. Tensions have been rising in recent days as I too have engaged in intercourse with Chief Teague on several occasions in the past several weeks, and she assured me that she was not receiving sexual attention from either the robots or Capt. Davies.

The look on her face was not one of shock or embarrassment. I saw no shame in her eyes as she continued to allow Capt. Davies to interact with her without notifying him that I had entered the room.

I left the room without drawing further attention to myself and retired to my quarters. I noticed, on my way back to my quarters, that one of newts had died.

Baseday 34 | 02:41:15

Capt. Davies and I have revisited the methane spring at NW2.N41.3’141″ to take additional readings and assess the possibility of bacteria living near or in the small pond. Tests are pending with results expected for Lab Report 141.3.

I confronted Davies with what I had seen and he laughed at me. He has accused me of seeing things, insisting that I imagined seeing he and Eve having sex. The visual is so burned in my memory that I cannot remove it from the forefront of my mind. I dropped a vial container into the methane pool, and I know it is a result of the stress of what I witnessed.

I feel a remarkable amount of jealousy at this moment. I do not believe Davies has tried to blow me off as having psychological issues. I know what I saw. His penis has much more girth than mine. I imagine she receives much more pleasure from him than she does me.

I have spoken with the MedBot about methods of increasing girth and length, but he has deliberately withheld the information from me. The nets are down, so I’ve not been able to research the enlargement methods on my own.

Baseday 37 | 09:34:01

All of the amphibian test subjects have died mysteriously. At first examination, it appears that each of them have had their spines broken through force. I have confronted Capt. Davies with this discovery and he denies that he has deliberately murdered my newts. I also brought to his attention that I most definitely heard he and Chief Teague having sex in the lab throughout the night. Again, he has refuted my claims, and suggested that I need rest. He has taken me off of duty for the next three days.

With Capt. Davies on recon for the length of my downtime, it will give me an opportunity to have time alone with Eve. That reminds me: I want to mention to her how unusual it is that she not only looks similar to my old flame back on Mars, but also shares her last name.

The results of Lab Report 112.2a have given me an idea for avenging the murder of my newts. I have decided to infect all six of Davies’s gibbons with the bacteria.

Baseday 38 | 14:10:32

Eve and I have reconciled. She assures me that Davies’s penis just looked larger and more satisfying due to the curvature of the glass on the helmet of my envirosuit. We had a very satisfying and romantic sexual encounter in the laboratory. I was not distracted in the least by the protests of the gibbons, who all seemed to be agitated.

I feel much better.

Baseday 39 | 23:16:17

I awoke today to the sound of screaming gibbons. I gave the lot of them a sedative and was able to continue on with my duties around base while Davies was out on patrol. Eve and I spent most of the day having sex and taking videos of me posing with her in various sexual positions.

Baseday 40 | 06:01:34

To my horror, I have discovered that Capt. Davies, in an obvious rage due to my renewed sexual relationship with Eve, has murdered all of my prized gibbons. On investigation of their deaths, I have determined they had all been infected with one of the bacteria strains we had attempted to relocate to the methane spring. It also appears that Davies has been giving them sedatives to keep them calm while they slowly died.

I did not confront him about this yet. I merely disposed of their bodies and sought consolation in the naked embrace of Eve.

I have decided that tomorrow I will kill him and dump his remains into the methane pool. I will make the necessary adjustment to the resourcing planning module to account for the sudden surplus of foodstuffs.

Baseday 41 | 15:40:44

I have spent most of the day searching the area for Capt. Davies and have been unable to find him. My intent to murder him has been overridden and forgotten as I have become frustrated with the fact that the daily patrols and recon were left to me in his absence.

To further complicate things, I returned to the garage today to assess the progress on the disabled rover from the other day and discovered Eve being pleasured sexually by no less than four of the robots.

I cannot complete with the metal bastards and have taken the axe to the lot of them. I realize this puts a great deal of responsibility solely on my shoulders, made worse by the disappearance of Capt. Davies. I have put in a requisition for more droids from Central Logisitics, specifically requesting they send robots without simulated male genitalia, or at least smaller simulated genitalia.

Baseday 42 | 23:15:54

I’ve searched all over for her while my oxygen lasted, but she is gone. I suspect that she and Capt. Davies have run off together and formed a base somewhere else on the surface of Titan. I did not notice any missing supplies, and none of the rovers are gone, but I am beginning to believe that the robots helped them escape, secretly building a second base without my knowing.

I will go out again tomorrow. I noticed some unusual lights in the distance just past the big mound SE14.S3.15’155″ but was unable to make it that far. This time I’ll find them.

Baseday 43 | 07:16:04

It’s them alright. I had to come back to get my axe. I had forgotten it. Davies must have come back to the base while I was masturbating last night and killed all the rest of the lab animals. I ate a few of the rats for sustenance on my trip I am about to take. With any luck, I’ll be back before nightfall and can be satisfied knowing they are all dead.

Encrypted Entries End

Incident Report – Titan Colony 2 – Utah Mesa

Governor Gregory Adams – Clearance W4X

To Administrator James Evans – Earth Interplanetary Logistics and Colonization

It grieves me greatly to be left with the task of penning the events you are about to read. What has occurred today has been one of the worst experiences of my life, and will more assuredly go down as the single greatest tragedy in the past forty years of our colonization efforts.

For a full understanding of the situation, I must relate to you events that occurred prior to today’s events.

Utah Mesa was completed in 2213 by a construction unit of droids that had been operating on Titan for five years. At the time they finished construction, it was assumed that there was no human presence on Titan. The last manned mission to Titan took place in 2203 and was assumed lost when a malfunction caused the lander to crash into the planet. A team of robots was sent to the surface of Titan to look for survivors, but the lander went down in a deep methane pool and was never recovered.

Our initial colony team arrived in 2214 and established a permanent human presence at Utah Mesa, where we’ve been successful and profitable for two years. We’ve had three additional colony teams integrated into population since that time, and at no point since the first team arrived have we had any accidents, injuries, or death.

This morning at approximately 09:13, guards were alerted to the presence of a man in Recon Team gear entering the colony grounds wielding an axe. When confronted by the guards, the man violently attacked and killed them without saying a word. The man then methodically marched from habitat to habitat murdering any human or robot in his path.

At 09:14 I received a comm report of the attack and authorized access to the colony arsenal. Providing weapons to two of my security team, I authorized them to shoot to kill. At 09:17, the two members of my security team fired and struck the assailant, killing him instantly.

The death toll here is seventeen, not including the attacker, and twelve robotic units are either destroyed or badly damaged.

After searching the area for signs of where the attacker had come from, we were able to trace his footprints back to a deep methane pool. It is our feeling that the attacker purposefully made it appear that he had walked out of the pool to throw us off his trail. I am sending out further investigative teams tomorrow to track down his base of operations, though preliminary scans show no sign of habitation or electronic or radio signals for one hundred miles in any direction.

I theorized this lunatic must have been a stowaway aboard one of the resupply ships, or even a colony ship. He must’ve been stealing supplies and hiding out in some of our empty habs.

I was wrong.

Jim, we removed the man’s environmental suit and confirm that he is Capt. David Teague, team leader for the 2203 manned mission to Titan. Yes, you read that right Jim. He survived somehow. Thirteen years. Good luck with that one back home. It might not be true, but the news feeds are going to have a hell of a ride with that bit, not to mention the fact that he had about thirty newt skeletons in his suit with him.

I’ve requested psych support at earliest convenience. There were a lot of kids in that body count, Jim. Things are rough here for all of us left.

Keep us all in your prayers.

Greg

 

Paroxysms: Marvel, Gaming, Froot Loops

th3

… froot loops …

Okay, in that commercial, you aren’t even playing Super Mario Bros. and that really irritates me. You’re cheering about mashing buttons during the preview screens, that’s excessively irritating. Somewhere, someone thought this was okay, but it’s not. I refuse to buy Froot Loops now. If I see Froot Loops, I pull them from the shelves and stomp on them. If I see someone buying Froot Loops, I tackle them and strip the box like a Linebacker. If I even see a toucan, I start to foam at the mouth. Don’t get me started on the clever double “o” – I don’t have the time to look it up, but I’m pretty sure “froot” is probably actually a Dutch word that means “ass kibble”.

… Marvel …

I think it’s fantastic that someone else gets to wield Thor’s hammer, and someone else gets to be Cap, and Hulk gets his brains back and … it was cool when it happened the first time, too. I get that Marvel has a lot more exposure now, but I get irritated by the media’s shoddy researching skills when it comes to writing articles about the Marvel universe. Suddenly everything MCU just HAS TO BE like 616 except where 616 is cheesy and 70s. Well, it’s not. Thor’s never going to be Charlize Theron, Mackie’s not going to fling a shield, and Hulk’s always going to say “SMASH!” instead of  “Pip-pip, that was simply smashing, old boy …” One of the mainstays of the Marvel Universe is the fact that is a Multiverse, including Earth-19999 and Earth-616 and those other two Sony/Fox iterations and ALL THE REST. … And what better way to finally bring it all together when the Sony and Fox contracts are up. Maybe Doctor Strange creates some cosmic paradox that shifts those other universes into one and we finally get Spidey as an Avenger, and proper Skrulls and a real Galactus. Anyway,  I have been excessively impressed with Kevin Feige’s approach to capturing the essence of the original Silver Age beginnings and making them relevant to today. I see Steranko in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I feel Roy Thomas in the deep continuity. You know, there is a pre-Wolverine Marvel, and I see it in the MCU when I didn’t expect to. So these naysayers that expect Guardians of the Galaxy to flop irritate me about as much as Froot Loops. Just because the Guardians are an “obscure” line of Marvel fiction, that doesn’t mean that their inclusion in the continuity of the MCU is not absolutely appropriate. The Silver Age was rife with cosmic adventure, and you can’t not include that in anything you do as big as what Feige has helped create. Asgard was the perfect segue into this idea that the Universe is bigger than Earth. Forget the Guardians, what about the Kree? Nova Corps? Fucking Galactus? There has to be a bridge between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the rest of the galaxy – and what better vehicle to bridge that gap than the exact opposite of what the Avengers are. The Guardians of the Galaxy are more human at their core than the rest of what awaits us beyond Midgard, and that’s why they are the perfect team to take us beyond the horizon and into the great beyond. And speaking of the great beyond, I can’t wait to hear them say Doctor Strange’s debut is going to be a flop.

…Gaming…

Oh virtual reality, how I desire thee. Just not like that. There is a day coming where the barriers between video games and movies will be breached, and the realms will collide–where an individual’s creativity will dictate the flow of the plot, not some corporation. What? Heard it before? Games are money, movies are money, your purist ideals of how open worlds should really be “open” are not. VR is inevitable, but we’re already broadcasting to the people that can make it happen that we want them to hold our hands through it. Should we? Or are we mature enough to wander off into madness alone? Imagine experiencing the Dune universe as Feyd-Rautha, or Duncan Idaho, or the Baron Harkonnen and completely rewriting how it all ends … and there’s another problem. What’s sacred anymore after that? Will the creators of these universes want you to play as Bonzo and kill Ender? Will you be allowed to snap Leia’s neck on the Tantive IV? Will you convince a legion of elves to really show up at Helm’s Deep? Doubtful. And that’s a shame. But let’s go beyond licenses and established franchises and think about the mind of man. What is to stop some pervert from developing the technology to wink his eye and capture a realistic 3D-modeling and voice capture of a young girl he sees at the mall and upload her into his private VR world of sex and debauchery? Nothing. Are you okay with that? Are you okay with someone liking your face, or your ass, and having it appear in the dark reaches of their personal paradise? Do our laws and our morals penetrate the divide between what is real and what damn sure feels real? What if you could upload your arch-nemesis in to your game world and cut his heart out with a spoon? What if the schizophrenic man finds peace in a world of insanity that matches the vibrations of his soul instead of the discordant reality he’s forced to exist in during his waking hours? What if the serial killer can be tamed by allowing his inner demon to run free in a world of his making? Is it okay? Do we want to think about what that means, or just blindly accept the next iteration of must-have-technology?

Who’s screwing you in their mind?

Day Twenty-Nine – Papercut Moseby’s Left Withered

owr

There is darkness and sound–a repetitive thud and scraping of metal. I feel heat radiating around me, and I feel trapped and claustrophobic.

I cannot move my body more than a few inches in any direction. There are walls surrounding me, lined with soft silk. I feel myself pressed against a cushion to my back–laying down perhaps?

I have two hands; this I can sense. Nails have grown to claws, curling a bit, but not quite brittle. I scratch nervously against my thighs. Two legs are there as well, and I can feel that same nail growth cramping what can only be shoes covering my feet.

I manage to slide a hand up to my chest and notice a dress tie, and–

Gold lapel pin, in the shape of a hypercube.

Green and gold silk tie.

Charcoal suit, wide in the shoulders, a bit long, buttoned midriff, shadowy pinstripe.

Crisp shirt over clean undershirt.

Boxers.

–in a ridiculous gesture, I adjust it nervously.

I get the overwhelming feeling that I am headed to an important meeting, and the heat raging in this box only becomes more unbearable.

I find it difficult to breathe.

There is more noise, and vibrations rattle my heart within my ribcage. I imagine light leaking in from somewhere, but then I realize that the bottom of the box I am trapped inside of has begun to glow.

From outside the box, a roar grows in intensity. I conjure up thoughts of monstrous denizens of the dark lurking just outside. I struggle to breathe, and struggle to find some meaning in the small box I am contained in. The vibrations are becoming more and more violent.

I gaze nervously around for a kitchen. I have a hankering for–

Roasted flesh, alien.

The energy emitted from dying stars.

Ichor of galaxies.

Starblood.

Universal Afterbirth.

–bacon, and wish there was an oven in this box. But, this oven is the box and in reverse, too.

I long for the doorbell, guests filing in, and bacon on mustard yellow ceramic.

“Chih, chih, you look lovely, and God, and Sundee School pretties, and how’s Bill, and isn’t he just so-and-so’s twin, the doll, and I heard her son’s the one that drinks crystal meth from the gutters, and he has a mistress, but I heard him say that he AGREES with the president, that he AGREES, but it was a nice sermon … did you see that they didn’t fill that pew? I heard their son worships–

Brekyirihunuade.

Spandaramet.

Xiuhtecuhtli.

Resheph.

Taranis.

Q’uq’umatz.

–Miley Cyrus, and he’s gay, but is afraid to come out since his mother was in that cult that rewrote the bible in their own twisted vision of the human condition.”

The box explodes and I am expelled from it into light. I fly through fields of fire and dirt until I crash into rock.

My suit is ruined.

Rage fills me–the suit was my favorite.

And there are hundreds of humans around me, staring in disbelief, in shock, in awe.

I look behind me and see the remains of my vessel, the pod that has delivered the tool of extermination to this tiny planet of self-absorbed apes.

I smile, and swallow the first human whole.

 

Doctor Who: Red Right Hand – Episode Three

strh

I think I should tell you, I’m now back into this story. I had abandoned it for so long, I thought I might never return to it. And, honestly, it wasn’t until this chapter that I finally realized I’ve got a nice little story going here.

Expect more soon…

Additionally, I’ve been working on some other pieces. The Common Man’s plight in space, an unconventional Western, and a return to both of my novels for a nice rewrite.

Oh, and I owe you that Texas Summer piece for 2014.

3. Departures and Arrivals

After narrowly defusing a further confrontation with Captain Light, Amy and Rory showed the Doctor some of the exhibits that had interested them the most.

Most of the things they found fascinating were child’s play to the Doctor. Where they expected him to agree that a self-perpetuating fruit tree was an amazing invention, he merely scoffed, “You wouldn’t think that if you’d been present at the Mass Gluttony Disaster on Udabes VII.”

While this perturbed the two companions greatly, their attentions soon turned from amazing technological achievements of the past to matters of the immediate present.

“So what did you find out, Doctor?” Rory asked conspiratorially.

“About what?” the Doctor replied, confused.

“About what’s amiss in this place?” Amy cued.

“There’s something amiss here?” he responded, looking at their surroundings curiously.

“Doctor!” she replied, giving him a good showing of her bottom teeth and a withering glare. “You’ve completely forgotten what we were supposed to be keeping our eyes out for. What exactly have you been doing with that dusty tart of an archaeologist all day?”

“Oh that!” the Doctor said with a smile. “For your information, Dolla was an incredible help. Walk with me.”

The trio moved away from the more trafficked exhibits and into an area where few visitors were loitering.

“Apparently, there was a big fuss over an item that arrived shortly before we did,” the Doctor explained. “Our Captain Light is somehow involved, though I don’t know how yet. He wasn’t part of the group that delivered the piece, but seems to know an awful lot about it.”

“Where you able to get into the computer system?” Rory asked.

“Ah. Now that’s the interesting bit. Short answer, no. Long answer, no, but not because a new system is being installed,” the Doctor replied. He paused a moment and scratched his head. “And there’s the tricky bit. That means Heems lied to me. Why would he do that?”

“There’s something in the system he doesn’t want you to see?” Amy guessed.

“Perhaps, or maybe there isn’t something in the system that he doesn’t want me to see,” the Doctor said enigmatically.

“So,” Rory said, “He wants you to see everything?”

“That’s not what I meant,” the Doctor said quickly.

“But that’s what you said,” Amy countered exasperatedly. “If there isn’t something in the system that he-”

“Yes, yes, yes, nevermind,” the Doctor said waving his hands in annoyance. “Listen to what I mean, not what I say.”

Taking a deep breath, the Doctor continued. “What I mean is that I think there are things missing from the database that he doesn’t want me to see. I’ve been here enough times to know a Thripitifalus Vex has been on Heems’s wall since before he took over as Curator. Take into account that I’ve been in this museum at a point in time later than the one we find ourselves in now, and that I know for a fact that it was there then, we’ve suddenly got a nice little mystery on our hands.”

The Doctor began to pace back and forth in front of the two companions.

“I’m even beginning to expect there’s more than just a wildlife trophy missing here. Either there’s a thief at work, or, and I hesitate to even travel down this line of thought, those pieces have ceased to exist.”

“So, what do we do next?” Rory asked.

The Doctor abruptly stopped pacing and faced his companions.

We do nothing. You two,” he said, pointing at them both, “are going home.”

“Ridiculous,” Amy snapped. “You’re taking us with you. You need us. You always need us.”

“True, Amelia Pond,” the Doctor replied warmly. “So many times I’ve needed you both in my travels, and this time is no different.”

Amy and Rory smiled at each other, thinking they’d won.

“Right now, I need you to go home. No buts!” he barked, turning away from them. “I’ll come back and pick you up later, five days at the most.”

“That usually means five years later,” Rory quipped.

“Why won’t you take us?” Amy asked, feigning a pout.

“This part of the adventure is a solo mission, comrades,” he said gravely. “Three’s a crowd. Now, just trust me.”

“Oh great,” Amy and Rory sighed in unison.

The trio made their way back to the TARDIS, saying their farewells to Dolla and Curator Heems along the way. The Doctor allowed Amy and Rory to choose one perishable memento to take with them, still vehemently protesting against them taking any sort of advanced technology back to their time, even if they did sell it in the gift shop. Rory chose a bugdrop, a small capsule that contained short-lived nanobots that would course through his body and repair any damage or malady he might be suffering internally. Amy chose a similar item that erased blemishes on the skin microscopically. Both items would run their course long before they reached Earth.

They reached the TARDIS in silence, ready to continue on with their adventures elsewhere. While the Doctor fiddled with his key, Amy and Rory smiled and embraced each other. With a final glance at the vast and wondrous Kelvaxan Reliquary, the companions turned and ran into the Doctor who was still struggling with the TARDIS doors.

“It’s jammed!” the Doctor grunted, heaving his shoulder against the door. “Now what could have possibly jammed the door?”

Rory cast a nervous look to Amy, who was already glaring back at him.

As the door opened a crack, there was a loud chorus of squeaks and bright pink and blue fur poked through the opening.

The acoustics in the space museum allowed sound to carry for long intervals. The Doctor’s angry cry of “RORY!” lingered long after the TARDIS finally vanished from view.

***

In the yard of the small house Amy and Rory lived in when not traveling with the Time Lord, a rather unpleasant odor began to grow in intensity. Birds fled from the shrubbery in swarms, the stray dog that often made his bed in an untended flower garden nearby fled the scene with a whimper, and even the rats that had burrowed under the foundation of the house vacated in terror as the stench spread.

A wheezy, grinding noise broke through the sound of the flapping wings and scurrying feet, and a blue box materialized. As soon as the box fully appeared with a thump, the door opened and three people wearing gas masks fell over each other trying to get out.

“Get clear!” said one of the people, his voice muffled through the mask. “I’ll set the remote timer.”

Pulling a small handheld device from its pockets, the gas-masked individual pointed it at the blue box. The device issued a shrill squeal and the door to the box shut. There was a brief flash of energy around the box and tendrils of smoke began to drift up from the box’s top.

“Wait for it! Five more seconds!” the person shouted to the others.

After the time had elapsed, all three of the humans removed their masks and gasped for air.

“Oh my god!” Rory panted. “That was awful. Even through the mask.”

“Why didn’t you do that before we left the Reliquary?” Amy questioned the Doctor.

“To teach you a lesson,” the Doctor said, waving a handkerchief in front of his face.

“I’ve had about enough of your lessons, professor,” Rory jabbed.

“Yes, well,” the Doctor stammered. “I admit I didn’t find it pleasant either. I mean, what was I thinking?”

“How did the gunbunnies get back into the TARDIS?” Amy asked.

“I have a few stasis pods aboard. I assume a couple got stowed away inside and initiated a brief stasis period which probably ended while we were away. Regardless, it’s still -”

“My fault,” Rory admitted. “Yes, I know. I said I was sorry.”

The three time travelers took a few moments to catch their breath, before the Doctor clapped his hands and signaled he was ready to depart.

“Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone,” he told his companions. “Five days, tops.”

“Yeah, we’ll see,” Rory muttered and turned to go inside the house.

“Doctor,” Amy said before following Rory.

The Doctor spun around with a smile.

“Take care of yourself,” she said.

“I wouldn’t risk the wrath of Pond by doing anything but that,” he replied and skipped off to his TARDIS.

As the door to the amazing blue box slammed shut, the droning sound of the time machine’s departure began. As quickly as it had appeared, it vanished. Amy and Rory went into their house and tried to settle back into their home away from what they considered their real home, the TARDIS.

In the yard of their house, the stray dog returned to sniff the area where the TARDIS had been and sneezed violently.

***

On the dark side of one of the seven moons orbiting around the planet Fallox, a seemingly derelict ship hung in space. The only clue an observer would have that might indicate there was someone aboard the vessel, was the small flame from a lit candle sitting on the ships controls.

Huddling close to the candle was Captain Drustan Light, who was using the dim light to view a crudely drawn map of the position of defensive satellites around the planet. As he peered at the map and tried to plot a course that would lead him safely through the security net, his ship’s onboard computer switched back on.

“Recharge sequence complete, Captain,” the computer spoke with a sultry, feminine voice.

“Switch us back on, Penelope,” Light responded. “I’m tired of squinting at this map by candlelight.”

“It’s bad for your eyes, Captain,” the computer chided. All over the ship, consoles switched on, glowing in reds, greens, and yellows.

Captain Light blinked his eyes in the sudden brightness. “Any luck reducing the recharge time? I wasn’t paying attention.”

“The Timedrive technology is still sapping our core systems beyond standard limits. I reduced the recharge time to compensate by .3 nanoseconds.”

“I guess every little bit helps,” Light sighed. “I just really don’t like being a sitting duck every time we jump. Suppose someone was able to follow us.”

“It is possible that we could find ourselves between a solid aggregate of minerals and an area of matter with strong intermolecular bonds in that situation,” the computer offered.

“A rock and a hard place, you mean,” Captain Light corrected with a smile.

“Is that not synonymous to the situation I described?”

“It is,” Light laughed. “It’s all about the delivery though, Penelope.”

“I am unaware of any further deliveries we are scheduled to make, Captain.”

“Nevermind that. Fire thrusters and take us in slowly,” the ship’s captain commanded.

The old Razor-class light freighter shook violently as the main thrusters fired. Light had commandeered the ship from a privateer operating near the galactic core of the Milky Way galaxy. The Timedrive had been a later addition, provided to Captain Light by his best repeat employer, an organization calling itself Ulysses. The ships hull was peppered with scorch marks from numerous skirmishes, and very little of the ship contained its original parts. Between Captain Light’s extensive upgrades and continuous need to replace faulty and obsolete components, the ship was an interstellar mutt.

“Have you plotted a safe course through the security net?” the computer inquired.

“I think so. Seventy-five by three point zero, sixteen degrees and hold steady.”

The ship shot around the orbiting moon and sped along a course towards the planet.

“Get me a reading on that sector,” Light ordered.

“I show a hole in their defenses in that sector. The ship will pass through unscathed,” the computer replied.

“Full thrust. Let’s just hope we get through before a patrol shows up.”

The ship shuddered violently as it increased speed. Quickly, the planet grew to fill the front window of the cockpit.

“Captain, there is an unusual energy reading coming from the aft section of the ship.”

“Check it out, Penelope,” the captain barked. “Not a good time for surprises.”

“Scanning,” the computer replied.

The ship was only a few hundred miles from the security net and gaining speed. Captain Light switched to manual operation and took control of the ship.

“What’s the verdict?” Captain Light asked.

The computer did not respond.

“Penelope?”

Instead of the computer’s female voice, a dry, mockingly British voice spoke from behind the Captain, “Power down the entire ship, immediately.”

Spinning around in his captain’s chair and drawing his blaster in one motion, Captain Light was shocked to find the Doctor standing holding his sonic screwdriver.

“You!” Captain Light shouted in fury.

“Shut it down if you want to live, Captain Light,” the Doctor warned.

“You’re threatening me with a sonic screwdriver?” the captain laughed incredulously. “What have you done with Penelope?”

“She’s sleeping,” the Doctor said impatiently. “Now shut this ship down or I’ll do it for you.”

“I’d like to see you try,” the Captain retorted. “I’ve got more security measures on this cockpit than -”

Before Captain Light could finish, the Doctor activated his sonic screwdriver, and one by one all the ships controls shut down and went dark.

The ship lurched violently as the thrusters powered down instantly, causing the ship to spin.

“Right,” Light sneered. “I’ll kill you for that.”

“Shut up and don’t breathe,” the Doctor ordered, seemingly unconcerned by the captain’s threat.

The Captain prepared a retort, but it caught in his throat as he caught a glimpse of thousands of microsatellites outside the ship. The entire hole in the security net was blanketed with the devices. His scanners hadn’t been able to detect them.

Barely whispering, the Doctor explained. “They use this sector for returning empty cargo containers. It saves them money by not requiring every container to be fitted with the proper security protocol modules to pass through the net. These little buggers detect electronic activity and certain heat signatures that would indicate a ship is trying to pass through. If they detect something, they vaporize it.”

“What about the -”

“Shh!”

Quieter, much quieter than the Doctor had whispered, Captain Light tried again. “What about the -”

“Shh!” the Doctor repeated.

“What about the residual heat from the thrusters?” the Doctor asked for him. “The cargo containers have to be able to be oriented into a position to pass through the sector. They have their own thrusters, and are controlled remotely. The thrusters shut off before they pass through. Only something the size of your thrusters would have enough residual heat to trigger them.”

“The size of my -”

“Shh!”

“The size of your thrusters doesn’t matter anymore,” the Doctor continued. “I took the liberty of detaching the thrusters at the same time I shut them off.”

“You what?!”

“Shh!”

Captain Light seethed with fury as the ship passed silently through the sea of microsatellites.

“How the hell am I supposed to land this ship once we pass through?” the Captain whispered harshly.

“Don’t ask me,” the Doctor said innocently. “You’re the pilot.”

“So you’ve killed us anyway,” the Captain snapped. “Wonderful.”

“I gave us a chance.”

“Wouldn’t they think of the possibility of a ship passing through like this and then powering up once its passed?” the Captain queried, looking desperately for a way out of the situation.

“Yes,” the Doctor said matter-of-factly. “That’s why the microsatellites extend down almost to the surface, much too low for a ship to pull off any sort of fancy maneuver and save themselves.”

“Where do they terminate?” the Captain asked desperately.

“Oh, about one mile above the surface of the planet.”

“You’re mad,” the Captain said incredulously.

“Well, I am a bit miffed, but that’s mostly because there’s a lingering stench in my ship.”

Captain Light turned abruptly away from the Doctor, and watched the planet speed towards them.

“That was quite clever of you, picking the lock to my ship and dumping a pair of gunbunnies in while I was touring the Reliquary,” the Doctor said icily. “Now I’ll have to apologize to my companion, and I really, really don’t like doing that. Especially when its Rory.”

The Captain couldn’t prevent himself from smirking.

“So, it comes down to this, Mr. Smartypants,” the Doctor continued. “You tell me what’s been happening at the Reliquary that’s caused entire species of lifeforms and eras of history to disappear from time, and I’ll save you and your ship.”

“How?”

“Nevermind that. Just tell me how you’re involved.”

The Captain took a deep breathe, considering the ship’s speed and approximate distance from the planet.

“Honestly, I thought you were involved,” the Captain confessed. “I, too, was investigating when you showed up. I thought I’d follow you when I realized you’ve got yourself a TARDIS.”

“The relic delivered to Heems before I arrived. What was it?” the Doctor pressed.

“A paradox key,” the Captain said. “I’ll tell you what it is when we land safely.”

“Fair enough,” the Doctor said. Nonchalantly, he turned from the cockpit and walked back to his TARDIS.

“Hurry Doctor!” the Captain yelled back at him.

“Oi!” the Doctor snapped. “Don’t rush me.”

The ship continued to spin in its descent, the microsatellites parting before it like water until gradually the cloud of them began to thin, then disappeared completely.

“We’re through!” the Captain yelled back. “I hope you’ve got a plan!”

Suddenly, the entire ship lurched and froze in mid-air. It floated there briefly before gently lowering down through the clouds toward the surface. After a few moments, the ship set down on solid ground.

Rising from his chair, but not putting away his blaster, Captain Light stalked back to the cargo hold. There stood the Doctor leaning against the TARDIS with a smirk on his face.

“So, Captain Light,” he said, “what exactly is a paradox key?”

“I really don’t like you, Doctor,” the Captain growled.

“Perfect!” the Doctor replied. “I don’t like you either.”

“A paradox key is a device engineered to manipulate events towards the perpetuation of a paradox. In the case of the object delivered to the Kelvaxan Reliquary, it was a Speak & Spell,” the Captain explained.

“Interesting,” the Doctor replied.

“This particular one has been compromised and altered. I was on my way to secure it, but Trelonde beat me to it. He’s the one that delivered it to Heems.”

“Why do you have an interest in this?” the Doctor asked calmly.

“I was hired to secure it and return it to its makers,” Captain Light said, holstering his weapon. “And before you ask, I don’t know who they are. They call themselves Ulysses.”

“Again, very interesting. So that then leads us to the present,” the Doctor mused. “What exactly are you doing breaking into a planet?”

“The same thing you’re doing. I’m looking for answers. Some time ago I delivered an artifact to Heems that has since disappeared from his collection. He says he has no knowledge of the item’s existence. This disturbs me. It was a very difficult piece to collect.”

“To steal you mean.”

Captain Light ignored the accusation and continued. “I recovered it from ruins on this planet, but I left three other pieces here. I want to see if they still exist.”

“Why wouldn’t they?” the Doctor asked curiously.

“Just a suspicion. For starters, Fallox is a primitive planet. I’ve been here dozens of times and never once has there been a security net around it.”

“Fallox has always had the grid,” the Doctor stated flatly. “I did my research. They’ve been spacefarers for centuries.”

“Ah, but you’ve never been here, Doctor. The memory is likely resident in my mind only. Just like your Thripitifalus Vex. Time does strange things to the minds of those who travel through its cracks. Sometimes you can change history, but you can’t erase it from the minds of those who have experienced it.”

“I’m coming with you,” the Doctor decided, pushing himself off the blue box.

“I work alone,” Captain Light countered.

“We have the same questions. We tread the same path towards to same goal. I’m not baggage, I’m not a liability.”

“I’m not convinced.”

“I also have Penelope,” the Doctor revealed, holding up a small crystal cube.

The Captain looked momentarily concerned, but then returned to his usual bluster. “One of these days, Doctor, we’ll come to blows.”

“Such a violent man,” the Doctor quipped sarcastically.

“Fine, follow close and do as I say,” Captain Light barked. Quickly, he picked up a pack from a locker in the cargo area and began to fill it with supplies.

“One more question, Captain,” the Doctor said carefully. “Have you ever heard of the Temporal Defense Initiative?”

Captain Light laughed aloud, and grinned at the Doctor, “Of course. I’m one of them.”

Day Twenty-Eight – A Message Written in Mustard Beneath a Park Bench in a Secluded Spot Near the Lake Where Maddie Gantt Found the Possum With the Eye Infection

kwe

 

If you were to find yourself so inclined to dive into that mirror, you would likely find me halfway through that diamond maelstrom, regarding you with disdain from some reflective abode – perhaps a corner of shattered glass, an edge, a wink of light among thousands.

That’s what you want, and you know it – a sideways, uncoupled somersault through enough razor edges to render your overeaten flesh to soup. It’s not your body you hate, and let’s get something straight, I don’t hate my body either. This is where we pull apart you and I – me being the voyeur you so desperately want, not touching you, but murdering you with intentions from a far. For all your lovely prose, your unshackled sexual power, your misplaced sense of godhood, I am the woman who can see the string guiding you up that tall, tall ladder in the sky. I alone know the teeth on the wind – biting and cold at the top of your hip new disaster dive of death.

All of this is a ruse.

All of you is a game.

It won’t be until you are halfway to impact that you’ll realize I’ve emptied the pool.

When you cannot see your reflection before your death, you will know you’ve wasted your life on primitive excretions.

You are a man who was always meant to fall to your death.

And this is why I hold my head up so high – not because I am a proud wife, but because I am hoping to see the black of your eyes as you fall, without reflection of the reflection below, without purpose.

I’ll be touched by the profundity of your last fleeting moments, in awe of the passing of so massive an ego, but it will be the last time you touch me.