Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

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Cast of Wonders 147: 30 Minutes for New Hell (Part 2)


30 Minutes for New Hell

by Rick Kennett

Part 2

He checked the clock again.

Twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven …

From his vantage point at the weapons console at Com, Lieutenant Frank Peters looked first at the forward access hatch, then at the aft access hatch, speculating. Yes, he thought. Forward hatch. Definitely. It was slightly further from Scans, but more direct. And the Professor was nothing if not direct.

He leaned back and listened to the building power-song of the drive firing gravity rings down the hull, faster and faster, acting on every atom simultaneously, causing no g forces within.

Twenty-four, twenty-three, twenty-two …

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Cast of Wonders 146: 30 Minutes for New Hell (Part 1)


30 Minutes for New Hell

by Rick Kennett

Part 1

What are they doing?

Cy De Gerch leaned forward and peered at the scene on one of her repeater screens. A few minutes ago, there in the middle of a New Hell desert viewed from a high-orbit drone, the Dhooj’s vehicle had suddenly stopped – skidding on its six balloon tyres, spraying red dust. Yet none of its crew, clad in their vacuum suits and transparent helmets, had so far emerged.

Which was odd, and Cy knew it. Ever since their landing on New Hell two days ago the Dhooj had been trundling along, setting up experiments, making observations, reporting excitedly back to their home world thirty million kilometres sunward like the pioneers and explorers they were. Energetic creatures, the Dhooj, not ones to just sit. Didn’t they have geological samples to take? Water probes to drill? Low g sports to play?

On impulse Cy shivered and pulled her grey tunic closer about. There was a desert wind blowing down there. She could feel it even from so distant an orbit. The scene was too much like home, too much like Mars. And well she knew that Martian winds blew forever cold.

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Cast of Wonders 137: The Filigreed Cage


The Filigreed Cage

by Krystal Claxton

“I don’t understand why you’re doing this.” Valeria spoke in hushed tones, though no one other than Nolan was within earshot.

“Because I can.” Nolan’s fingers worked against the cuff on his wrist with a slim metal splinter.

“Nolan, please can we talk about this? Just wait a moment.” She glanced around the park. Beyond the walkway, short trees basked in the artificial light of the dome.

The cuff was a gift from the Overseers, one of many they had bestowed upon humanity since the Fail. It provided everyone with instructions and guidance. Her fingers nervously traced the intricate filigree of her own cuff. She remembered her tenth birthday, when she’d been blessed with the title of Wife and Nolan’s name had appeared in delicate scroll.

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Cast of Wonders 130: The Phobos Monolith


The Phobos Monolith

by Preston Dennett

True to her nature, Vasia ran without fear or caution across the Martian landscape.  She leaped in huge graceful arcs that any dancer would envy. Naira did her best to keep up, but because of legs, and she quickly fell behind.  How she wished she could rid herself of the cursed robo-walker that encased her legs so she could run like Vasia. Her sister’s body was strong and healthy.  Naira, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky. It was a miracle that their parents had even let them outside, considering how protective they were.

“Hurry up, Naira!” Vasia yelled.  “Wait ‘til you see. It’s just a little farther.”

Naira huffed along at a steady pace.  Vasia wanted to show her a patch of crystals she had found.  They would, Vasia said, make a nice addition to their collection.

Seeing that Naira was catching up, Vasia turned and began running again.

Naira watched as her sister soared upwards.  Then she landed and disappeared into the ground.  A small puff of dust geysered upwards and settled instantly.

“Vasia!”

Naira increased her pace and knelt down where her sister had disappeared.  There it was: a small black hole in the ground, just large enough to swallow Vasia.
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Cast of Wonders 123: Taxidermy and Other Dangerous Professions

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


Taxidermy and Other Dangerous Professions

by J.R. Johnson

By late afternoon the day was hot, hot and hot, my feet burning up through flimsy red canvas shoes. My skin too, even with its built-in mocha café au lait sunscreen, out all day with no protection but a nondescript outfit topped with my stifling jean jacket. I kept that between me and prying eyes, always.

The last of my water went down warm and barely dented the void in my stomach. A police chopper flew overhead but I didn’t look up, just hunched deeper into my jacket before turning into the Joe’s Hot Dog Heaven parking lot. I was scared and running, sure, but the cops weren’t looking for me. No one was.

Aging picnic tables crouched at the edge of the lot were splintered and stained, but still looked more welcoming than the street. Crumpled napkins and used cups littered the gravel under my feet but the place felt safe enough. We used it as an after-school refuge when classes were on. The owner kept the place free from the worst trash; you wouldn’t step on a needle here. I needed shelter and this place, surrounded by dust and wild day lilies, was as close as I would get. Settling against the shaded wall at the back of the lot with relief, I closed my eyes against the day. Lord, my feet hurt.

“Come with us.”
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Cast of Wonders 104: Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6

Show Notes

As you’ll hear in the outro, Jamieson’s inspiration for this story is the episode art for this week, a fair-haired young girl piloting a large mechanical fish. This arresting image was created by the exceptional artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith. You can find her work online here. Please go check it out! It’s well worth your time, and she has our thanks for allowing us to use the piece as this week’s episode art.


Captain Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret vs. The Goblins of Vishnu 6

By Jamieson Ridenhour

Load-in is always a bitch on a gas giant gig, but the moisture off the methane sea on Vamana really played havoc with my drum heads. The city, Upendra, was a big, domed thing with old-school terra-forming and flora-powered atmos that amounted to a human-made jungle in the midst of the rocky moon. We were playing the Municipal Amphitheatre, a screamingly Corporate name that was typically boring and grandiose all at once. That we got booked at all is probably due more to the backwater status of Vishnu 6’s fifth moon than any real thought about whether we’d be a good fit—we were a hell of a lot cheaper than the big CorpMuses who played closer to Earth.

Not that any of this mattered, mind you. A gig’s a gig, and this one was if anything a little bigger than we usually pulled. I’m just saying that for the all the “professionalism” of the local staff and the “modern ease” with which the intra-dome transfer was supposed to run, we might as well have been playing a dive bar in the Pleiades. But we did get the equipment set up, ‘cause you always do, and we did get what could technically be called a sound-check before we were hustled off the stage so the other two bands on the roster could do the same.

I’m telling the story like I’m a veteran, but truth be told that gig was only my third or fourth with Cleveland Grackle’s Galactic Cabaret, even though the Neverending Tour was a full decade old by that point. This is right after they started using the mechanical fish during “Nearer to Land,” the one Kimmy would pilot out of the wings on invisible filaments when Peter began his guitar solo.
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Cast of Wonders 77: The Long Cut


The Long Cut

by Tom Howard

“Do you want me to drive for a while?” my mother asked from the front passenger seat. It was the middle of the night but, unlike my older sister, I couldn’t sleep. The desert streaked by just out of sight of the headlights. Off in the distance I could occasionally see a cluster of lights. I often wondered if there were kids like me asleep in their beds in little houses. Kids who didn’t have crazy fathers who insisted on driving everywhere because planes and trains were too expensive and buses were too slow.

“I’m good until Tucson,” said my dad. He and Mom traded off driving since we never stopped at a hotel because Dad said he’d never pay hard-earned money just for sleeping. “I could use another cup of that coffee if there’s any left.”

Mom unscrewed the lid from a battered aluminum thermos in a ritual that I’d seen her perform a hundred times.  She’d pour the dark, steaming liquid – rarely spilling a drop – into Dad’s big travel mug. He’d complain about how bad restaurant coffee was.  I didn’t wait for Dad’s expected comment. I just looked out the window. Where the heck were we?
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Cast of Wonders 67: Barsoom in June


Barsoom in June

by Brian L. Hurrel

Come in, Mr. Unger. Now, what’s all this fuss about? You’ve created quite a stir within the Astronomy Department.

I’m sorry sir. It was unintentional. I was setting up a spectroscopy demonstration for my Astronomy 101 class. I used the Talbot ECR 394 with —-

Long story short, Mr. Unger.

Well sir, I did a test analysis of Mars, and, well, it showed oxygen. Lots of oxygen.

Obviously there was something wrong with the machine or its calibration.

That’s what I thought too. So I tried a second spectroscope. The Marchand 227—

The Marchand always was a little quirky.

Yes sir, so I ran the same tests on the Dorushuk equipment and—

And?

The results were the same.
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