Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

“Yo, sleeping beauty, up and at ‘em. We’re due for a Forecast in tee minus ten.”

The swaddled form in the bed grunted. Yuri rolled his eyes.

Yuri checked his watch, then drove a knuckle into the soft dozing form in front of him. He heard a muffled yelp. “I’m serious, get up Darl. If I get another demerit from that hardass Sowser in Systems because you couldn’t get out of bed at a decent hour, I’m going to shove you out of an airlock. I‘m not joking this time, I‘ll do it.”

No answer. Yuri ripped the blankets forcefully back from the circular bed. A tangle of arms and legs and surprised faces lay underneath. There was a shrill scream.

Yuri threw the covers quickly back on the bed, performing an abrupt about-face. He cleared his throat.

“Various naked people, if you would please remember that this is a Technicians’ Quarter, and you have to be escorted–”

A giggle from under the blankets.

“…Anyway, break it up. Darl, if you don’t get up this very instant, I’m going to recommend that you be transferred, preferably somewhere horrible.”

Yuri walked out of the quarter and leaned on the wall outside of Darl’s door, crossing his arms across his chest.

After a moment, a young brunette emerged, combing her mussed hair with her fingers. She eyed Yuri and flipped him a wink before sashaying off.

Yuri started to move for the door when it opened again. A young man with strong features and olive skin jerked back with wide eyes in the doorway. Yuri raised his eyebrows, then moved back with a No, after you gesture. The young man exited past him quickly.

Yuri walked back into the quarter. Darl was in the bathroom, taking a piss naked with the door wide open.

“You’re incorrigible.”

Darl walked back in when he was done and began to throw on his clothes. “It wouldn’t hurt you to lay some pipe every now and again.”

“Not very discriminating with regards to the plumbing, are you?”

“What can I say? They’re a cute couple.”

“Ugh, okay. Enough of that. Just hurry the hell up.”

Darl walked past Yuri in his pajamas and out the door. Yuri followed him.

“You know, I really think you abuse this casual Friday thing.”

Darl threw his hands up. “What does it matter?” He jumped up as he walked to slap at a hanging light. “We’re on the Big Voice, it’s not like anyone can see us.”

“It’s the principle of the thing.”

“I still think if you got a little ‘casual’ once in awhile you wouldn’t continually be on the edge of a nervous breakdown all the time.”

“Can you blame me for taking my job seriously, Darl? We’re in charge of climate for this whole damned colony. Without us the crops would die off, people would go hungry and thirsty, the biosphere would be destroyed–”

“Yeah, yeah, lives hang in the balance. Yuri, it’s just a little rain. It’s just a little sun. Lighten up.”

They walked into the climate cabin. They sat down at the console and pulled up the analysis screens. Humidity, air pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, carbon dioxide, light spectrums.

Darl put on the headphones while Yuri worked the switchboard.

“Should have got numbers for those two,” Darl said.

“Seriously, I haven’t even had coffee yet,” Yuri replied, disgusted. “You’re going live in eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

“Good morning Icarus! This is Darl Rock with your friendly neighborhood Climate Control, here to give you your daily Forecast. At 0630, there will be a rain shower lasting until approximately 0100 hours, so get those hydro collection systems ready and bring in the laundry. As a complement to the First Crop, we will be scheduling a series of gentle storm systems this week to aid germination in the Agricultural Station. Per standard operating procedure, we will also provide precipitation alerts prior to all climate activation. Thanks, and as always, enjoy that wet weather!”

Yuri took a slug of coffee from the side of the console and switched off the Big Voice.

“And that’s a wrap. I can’t believe you actually get paid to do that.”

“It’s the silky smooth vocals, my friend. They make all the little space bunnies moist.”

“A chimp could do your job.”

“Aw, that’s not even nice. You’re just being grouchy now.”

Yuri accessed the climate control panel, beginning the precipitation sequence. Darl adjusted the monitoring system.

“Beginning precipitation sequence for the U.S.S. Icarus, Colony Log Day 4116, Hour 0615,” Yuri said, his words clipped and professional.

“We’ve got a go for Rainmaker Five,” Darl said.

“Affirmative. Proceed.”

“Countdown sequence in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…”

Both Darl and Yuri waited for the rainmaking lasers to shoot into the sky of the colony, illuminating the seed cloud that hovered at its ceiling. Beyond it, they could see the glittering vastness of space like diamonds on black velvet obscured by a mist.

Nothing.

“Well that was underwhelming.”

Tall Boy was deep inside his own head, standing and staring up at the skeleton of the mural with a can of cream paint in one hand and his hip in the other. He was contemplating techniques for reproducing lunar craters in trompe l’oeil when an unknown hand came down heavily on his shoulder and swung him around.

“There were some people who avoided the Jaunt because they were leery of the long-term consequences. There were also those who had been over-exposed to the media coverage of the rare four cases where a person had gone missing mid-way. The title of the first New York Times headline narrating this incident was simply

LOST

[A snippet from a short story I’m kicking around. Meet Tall Boy.]

                “These colors. That’s what I need from you.” Tall Boy’s smile was radiant, infectious. Against his will, Spanner felt his customary scowl begin to buckle into a grin. 
                “I don’t know if I have all these in stock. You know who else is on the prowl for paint around here. This stuff doesn’t exactly grow on trees these days.”
                “Just give me the closest thing you got.”
                Spanner leaned over the list and put his head in his hand. “I don’t know, man. That really is some dangerous territory.”
                “Don’t worry about me Span, I’m invisible like a stray cat. I am one with the night.”
                “You are one with the bullshit, is what you are.”

The blank house.

Posted: July 19, 2010 in Fiction, Snippets

[Here’s a snippet from some of the pages and pages of work I did over the weekend, writing about zombies and the people who shoot themI’m hoping it will end up  over at Tales of the Zombie War, in which case I’ll link to the whole sordid tale over there…]

“This is the last one.”

Matt Baker glanced up from taking the safety off his gun to the one-level ranch house his partner was pointing at. A large picture window was shattered in the front–glass jutted up from the sill like broken teeth. Blood stained the driveway in streaks and splatters that trailed onto the immaculate lawn. A single red handprint was smeared across the aluminum mailbox, which now hung at a sad, abused slant.

It was the only blank house left on the block. There were no marks on the wooden siding to give any indication whether its inhabitants were living, dead, or somewhere in between. The only identification on the front was a sprawling line of graffiti that said, BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN, THAT GREAT CITY. ~ “Everybody But Lazarus”

Among the Cotai, riders lost their mounts—it happened. Either through injury or illness, it happened. While he knew Vahn felt as if he was the first boy to ever lose a dragon, and would carry the hurt as such for a long time, he also knew boys in general, especially as they were growing into the men they would become.

The Hatchings would be upon them soon, with the new opal-eyed dragon pups screeching from high Cliffside nests, and the spring festivals would arrive as well; in time, Vahn would forget his hurt, or store it away in a hidden part of his heart to nurse in secret hours. He would see his friends take to the skies and long to ride with them again.