Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
The grand patriarch, Thoxphall The 19th stood in his familiar spot, perched on the cliff’s edge overlooking the thousands of members of his kingdom. Off to the side the tight cluster of his offspring served as advisors while they stood in line as heirs apparent. His speech reached everyone in the throng equally and without mechanical assistance as their way of communication was instant and required no sound to travel across inefficient air.
“After the science advisory’s close attention to incoming intelligent signals from an apparent planet in the dimmest star system of the constellation, Brixphall’s Trunk, we have been able to convert the images into thought patterns and it has now been verified that their populous is under constant attack from a horrific infestation of mobile beings.”
Murmurs of alarm spread instantly through the kingdom.
“Can they reach us here?” asked a citizen.
“It does not appear that they can.”
A sigh of relief came through the masses, but then the patriarch added, “For now that is. Some of our top minds think they may be evolving quickly.”
Alarm ran through the throng once more.
“How long then?” one shouted.
“How dangerous are they?” chimed another.
The patriarch did his best to sooth the worried crowd, knowing full well that what was coming next would do exactly the opposite. “Please remain calm. The greatest minds from all of the world’s kingdoms assure us we are safe for quite some time.”
But by law the elders had to share what they had learned with each and every citizen. “Please be warned however, some of these images are disturbing.”
Suddenly a scene was broadcast throughout the entire gathering, each and every one of them receiving a crystal clear picture in their own mind.
The view was alien and nothing short of spectacular, showing a clearing in the middle of some grand green kingdom on another world, with rows of majestic looking citizens standing tall and proud all around.
But then the strange and small peach colored mobile beings with their odd black and red checkered body coverings were doing something strange. They approached a towering elegant alien of stupendous beauty and then to everyone’s horror, they did the unthinkable. Showing callous disregard for life they used a buzzing mechanical device, by extension of their horrible waving flapping limbs, to slice right through the base of the poor unfortunate being’s trunk. A hush fell over the throng as they collectively watched the freshly cut alien come crashing to the ground with finality.
This was then followed by much more of the same. Tree after glorious tree continuously slaughtered by the creatures without a single thought.
A grove near the cliff base said in unison. “We must do something!”
A lone sapling who stood off from the throng, fighting for moisture at the base of a sandy dune near the kingdom’s border responded sadly, “Yes but what can we possibly do against such a threat as this?”
As the broadcast was ceased the patriarch spoke again, “For now we should remain calm and try to be grateful that we are safe where we stand, and that for the moment nothing threatens branch, trunk or root of our people.”
The crowd seemed to accept this with wariness as they all continued to think of the devastation that was now taking place on that faraway world, where those poor defenseless beings were being slaughtered horrifically, their bodies greedily cut up and consumed by the horrible mobile threat.
Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
The depressing gloom of twelve noon hanging dark in brown smog was only outdone by the endless rows of ash grey skyscrapers; so many housing projects, so many broken windows, so many bodies rotting in the steel towers of the eastern seaboard.
An open sign buzzed in the window of a greasy bar and grille that fought to stay noticed amongst the shadows of tattered awnings and flapping clotheslines. On the dirty sidewalk in front, a seagull with one eye was fighting over a severed human finger with a tattered black raven. A sudden FRAAAP!!! of a bored out Harley shovelhead engine running through open pipes echoed off the cement jungle and both birds scattered, the finger rolling unclaimed into the storm drain for the rats.
A headlight crested the rise and seemed to aim directly at the bar and grille. Badass Benny Boots knew the joint. He gunned the hardtail’s 103 inch engine and headed straight for Uncle Larry’s.
A size 15 Doc Martin flicked out a chrome kickstand as the big shovelhead motor hissed and farted to a halt in front of the run down establishment. The six-foot-five 275-pound man swung his leg over the chopper, got up, stretched and yawned, his leathers creaking in accompaniment.
Suddenly there was the scuff of a shoe in a nearby alley opening, followed by a click.
Benny rolled his eyes and sighed, “Here we go again.” He spun on his heel, drawing his plasma cannon with the speed of an old west gunfighter. And before the desperate junkie could raise his beat up ancient revolver, he had a fist sized hole burning in his chest.
The huge man holstered his weapon and disappeared into the gloom of the bar. The front door slammed shut behind him as the dead junkie keeled over onto the sidewalk.
“It’s amazing what a guy has to do to get a beer and a burger around here.” He eyed Uncle Larry, a short Chinese man with a stony face and a stern gaze. “Gimme the special Larry.” The biker suddenly noted nervousness in the proprietor’s eyes. Benny looked toward the restroom’s slightly ajar door. He shook his head sadly, “Here we go again.”
The drug dealer, an old adversary of Benny’s, suddenly burst forth from the toilet with machine gun in hand. Again the plasma cannon sprung forth from its holster. Again it left a gaping smoldering hole in the chest of its target. And as the dealer collapsed to the cheap linoleum Benny turned back to the bar, to see smiling Uncle Larry plop down what he had ordered. A frothy pint of lager and a charred piece of meat, hopefully not rat, on a stale crusty bun, a bit of heaven on earth.
And as he sat upon the bar stool he could smell the bubbles from his beer. He smiled and picked up the burger. He opened his mouth to take a bite and saw, in the reflection of the chrome napkin holder, a figure in a black balaclava raising a huge knife above his head.
He began to set down his burger, his brow furled. “Here we go again.”
Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
The Pai-Toxh beings of the twin planet set, Andromedae 2787A and B, were nearing their migration time. The entire flock had just about finished feeding and were full of energy for their upcoming journey. Calls went out as alpha leaders stirred up the others. The creatures began to spread out their wide skin flaps. It was becoming crowded and there was much squawking as they all jostled for room on the great lichen covered stony plane.
Then finally when it seemed everybody had a spot they all quieted down and began to wait. It would be soon enough. The beings hazarded glances with their multifaceted eye domes toward the western horizon. And then it appeared.
A hum rose up through the flock. It would still be several hours before the great winds came yet every creature vibrated with anticipation as the other planet drew around for the closest approach of its yearlong extremely elliptical orbit.
The sister world grew to enormous proportions as it rose gargantuan in the western sky. Yet closer and more massive still it drew toward them. Ever larger, ever looming, until a vibrant green ocean and mighty straddling continent with a spectacular twenty-five thousand kilometers long mountain range seemed close enough to touch. And the Pai-Toxh beings could literally feel a magnetic pull in their hollow bones. Yet still it advanced, until finally a rushing of air could be heard in the distance.
And as the sister passed directly above, not a hundred kilometers separating the two interlocked planets, their atmospheres kissed and the great winds began.
Air rushed in like a tidal wave building up and up from a mighty gale to an onslaught that raged at several hundred kilometers per hour. Suddenly the sky was filled with dots and dust to the west as other flocks of Pai-Toxh were hurled skyward alongside a multitude of insects, plants, seeds and pollen, the great winds tearing them all from their stony perches. And then in another moment the heaviest of the winds arrived in full force.
The local flock was hurled into the air like so many spinning kites, many of them collided, some died, but the lucky ones who managed to avoid danger and debris were soon in the upper atmosphere, where the air was very thin, the pressure extremely low.
But these creatures had evolved to survive this migration. While other beings stayed near the less turbulent poles, or burrowed underground to avoid the annual storm, the Pai-Toxh along with other interplanetary migratory animals let themselves fly free, up past the limits of their normally calm stratosphere, to where the two worlds momentarily mixed air.
And there they passed their cousins coming back the other way, members of their own species arriving from the sister world, to mate and birth offspring in the place the flock had only just abandoned. By now they were all so sparsely interspersed that there were far fewer collisions. For the most part they would soon float safely and intact, down to mate and have young of their own in their wonderful new home there on the sister sphere.
And then one day, after another long year had passed, their descendants would eventually return to this place, and it would all start over again.
And year after year it would continue, over and over, each and every time the heavenly dancers twirled toward each other to once again dip in and share their brief kiss.
Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
As they lowered into a spot outside the arena and Jeremy’s father shut the hove’s engines down he continued to give his son the pep talk. “A year enslavement. Do you even know what that means? Of course you don’t,” he answered himself. “You haven’t ever had it tough, haven’t ever lost a playoff series, haven’t had to go live in a place where everyone hated you and picked on you and abused you every chance they got.”
“Yeah, I know dad,” he answered as he procured his hockey bag and sticks from the hove’s luggage bay. “Don’t worry, we’ll beat these guys.”
“Well you’d better, is all I can say. Me and some of the other dads need at least half those kids in the factory by morning if we’re going to make our quota. And god forbid, if you lose? I don’t even want to think about that!”
“We’re not going to lose dad. I’ll be home safe tonight.”
Suddenly Jeremy’s mother appeared with his little sister. They had been waiting at the arena entrance. Both had tears in their eyes.
“Oh baby,” Jeremy’s mother cried, “I hate playoffs so much.”
As the game progressed things got heated in the stands as well as on the ice. Parents from both sides hurled insults and expletives at each other as their children skated their hearts out in one of the roughest and most hard fought playoff finals in the junior league’s history.
And in the end, the ten to one underdog Mooseport Rockets scored a dramatic overtime goal to trounce their richer, better coached and far better fed rivals from Upper Eastplane.
And as mother, father and daughter huddled in tears amongst the other crying families in their bleacher section, the heavily armed on-ice officials escorted the losing team to the far end of the arena.
“My baby! My baby boy!” cried Jeremy’s mother over and over, while his father wondered worriedly how he was going to continue to deal with the labor shortages at the factory.
The Upper Eastplane Eagles weren’t even allowed to change out of their gear as they were taken, skates and all, to the waiting prison transport. Jeremy gulped. He heard they had some god awful sweat shops in Mooseport. Why oh why hadn’t he just skated a little harder?
Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer
“The satellite passes above us now.”
“I know my lord. I can sense it up there too.”
“How dare they… spy on us like this?”
“They are unaware of us my lord, they only study the planet.”
“They have their own planet. We don’t travel there, only ever sunward. We never intrude upon their space, and they have no need to come our way.”
The underling lay silent in his molten bath, wondering about the frail beings on the third planet. So strange they must be, unable to escape their own atmosphere without artificial manipulation of matter and energy to assist themselves, as was needed for just about every other thing they did as well. How it must be to rely solely on the constant changing of one’s environment. For sun’s sake, they didn’t even have telepathy! How did they communicate? It was all so strange, so utterly alien.
His master read his thoughts and answered, “As we would seem to them I am certain.”
“But our entire way of life is so simple in comparison my lord.”
“Yes but they only know the way life works on their own world. They have no imagination for the way other beings might evolve.”
Sensing that the satellite had now passed safely by, the master rose up through the lava and with a great heave suddenly exploded his gargantuan body through the rocky crust of Venus. He hadn’t truly fed for nearly a year and it was time. Up and up he rose through the thick atmosphere, kilometer after kilometer, until he reached the place where the sulfuric acid rain no longer evaporated. Yet still he climbed, flattened right out, the tight segments of his carbon composite body undulating as his inner elemental factory continued to burn fuel. Had the satellite still been above, the heat signature of his jet stream might have been visible to its sensors. Several of his kind shouted out telepathically for him to proceed with great care.
He ignored their warnings for the moment and continued to ascend. Soon clear of the planet’s atmosphere he basked in the glow of the sun, feeding hungrily on its radiation as billions of tiny diamond receptors on his body efficiently captured and focused all he could use and more.
Propelling himself into a freefall orbit for the moment, he fell in less than a kilometer behind the satellite, looming unseen in its blind spot. He felt like lurching forward and smashing it to bits. A chorus of voices instantly entered his mind telling him emphatically to leave it be! He knew they were right, so with a twist he broke off the chase, and angled outward and upward. He had nearly endless energy here so free from the atmosphere and was capable of traveling all the way to the third planet should he wish. But he would not. His kind had decided long ago to keep to themselves.
Instead today he would do something he hadn’t done in a long while. Hungrily taking in the abundant solar energy he angled inward toward the burning star, the giver of all life. He decided it would be a fantastic time to fly in and loop around tiny Mercury. Its speedy orbit brought it close enough right now. He would really be able to get his fill down there. And besides, from Mercury the sun always looked so beautiful.