Author : Glen Luke Flanagan
Scarlet wings aflutter, painted faces twisted into masks of hate, the pixies descend. Their prey writhes on the ground, eyes bulging in terror as the tiny carnivores begin their feast.
Fluorescent light filters through golden pixie dust, casting an eerie haze over the scene. Crimson blood stains a concrete floor. Screams of terror fill the soundproof room, reaching no ears but tiny pointed ones.
Their only thought – to kill. Their victim – a human soldier, now a living skeleton. Flesh hangs torn from skeletal cheeks, ripped away by tiny teeth.
Behind shatter-proof glass, men and women in lab coats watch with satisfied faces. One breaks the silence, speaking to a stern-faced companion.
“So, General. I expect we will get the contract?”
Author : David Kavanaugh
The projectionist’s nimble hands slid the reel into the side of the old machine. The switch was flipped and a cone of illuminated dust particles appeared in the theater outside the tiny window.
In the seats below, the scattered audience members settled back, putting their little conversations on hold as the feature began.
At first, the screen was black but for a bit of deep, dark, throbbing grayness in the very center. Then suddenly there was a collective gasp of breath and more than one audience member jumped in their seat as the dot on the screen suddenly glowed white hot and inflated. It stretched out and out, blinding them with its brilliance. It filled the screen, pulsing and twirling with ripples of electric blue. The speakers grumbled out a roar of sound, like living thunder.
Then, as the liquid fire began to calm, the scene changed. The perspective zoomed in on a little ripple of gold, closer and closer until the audience was watching tiny mites of energy shudder and clash. They began to evolve into bits of color, and the opposing shades collided and burst like firecrackers. The speakers sent out sizzling sounds as the particles appeared and disappeared.
The light softened, and the screen became a hazy scene of drifting clouds. The clouds began to squeeze inward and take the shapes of disks and skirts and hats and hoops. Stars in the newly formed galaxies twinkled and blinked. The big ones were the prettiest, but they only lasted a few seconds before flashing out in rainbow gusts.
It zoomed in on a little tornado of silver glitter. The galaxy spun through the darkness until it happened upon another galaxy, this one a smaller disc the color of blood. The whirlwind of stars swept across the red galaxy, swallowing up the colors and hiccupping a flash of orange before moving on.
There were some random shots of rocky worlds and gas giants rotating around their parent suns, and after a few minutes the scenes of life began. Quark warriors swarmed in the molecular castles on a scrap of frozen iron. An ooze of black silicone sludge rose up in a great wave and battled a thorny beast as big as a mountain. Sentient souls in a methane sea slashed at the seafloor and turned the ore into shiny metals. They built vessels like golden spears and hurled themselves through the cosmos, forming an empire dozens of galaxies across. Buzzing pools of electrons bickered over philosophy. A small, wet planet featured scenes of jellyfish and fungi and a single frame of a hairless ape driving a Volkswagen. Gray-green clouds made love and gave birth to raindrop children. There were monsters and angels and artists. There was a stone dragon snacking on stars and belching out hydrogen fumes.
The flickering scenes of life came to a close, and the screen showed black and white once more. The pop and crackle of starry lives. The heavy breathing of nebula. The grinding, angry music of pulsars.
The specks of light went out, one by one, and the speakers grew silent.
Some of the audience clapped politely, but there was a general feeling of anticlimax. They began to rise from their seats, yawning. Someone spilled a soft drink. Someone forgot their keys.
Above them, the projectionist carefully inserted the reel back into its container and set it on the cart beside the others. As the gods tottered from the dingy theater below, the projectionist blinked its many, glistening eyes and glanced at the fading label. It read: The Universe.
Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
YOUNG DOMESTICATED HAND-RAISED HUMAN BEINGS
FREE TO A GOOD HOME
I have 5 young (13 Earth Years) DOMESTICATED pet humans that are looking for loving nest hives. These humans have been handled since birth, have no problem with tentacles, and love us blogdors. Humans make great pets for blogdors of all ages, are very affordable to care for and their short (60-80 Earth Years) life span leaves no long term commitment. These humans are extremely social and love to cuddle. They are (mostly) litter box trained, and will eat nearly anything you feed them. Humans do best in pairs, and can get very depressed without a friend. Although, if you have a lot of spare time, humans make lovely solo pets as well.
These humans ARE NOT KORRA FOOD. I understand that korras need to eat, too, but so much time and energy has went into raising and domesticating these little ones that it would be a waste of such precious tiny lives.
Experience with offworld animals is recommended, but as long as you are willing to provide a loving home, they can be a great beginner pet.
Supplies needed to adopt pet humans
-Airtight, pressurized cage (at least 10 square tentacle-lengths)
-Oxygen/nitrogen mix with transposer
-Litter box (with litter obviously)
If interested, leave pheromone trail near the pupae farms before second moonrise.
Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer
The sea of faces looks like a spattering of pale raindrops against the dark pastiche of their clothing. This demonstration promised to be ‘a spectacular denial of President Lacorn’s policies’ and it is. The estimates place the heaving crowd at over a quarter of a million people. There are snack vendors and even souvenir stalls!
“No tyrants! No tyrants!”
Their cries are consistent, carefully orchestrated. My people have confirmed that all the lobbyists and hardcore groups have come in force. Speeches have been given.
“Ninety seconds before optimum is exceeded, sir.”
I look up at the ceiling. This will be a defining moment in the campaign. I walk over to the console.
“Stand clear. There will only be one with blood on his hands today.”
They look at me in surprise, relief plain on their faces. This may be necessary, but the scale is stupefying. It has kept me up vomiting into the early hours for a month. I think that nightmares will replace nausea after this.
There is silence. Some of the para-military elements in the crowd have noticed the lack of official presences or watchers. They are starting to wave their hands to get attention when I reach down and press the button.
Thermobaric weapons are devastating. The fuel-air bomb is unbelievable in enclosed spaces, but used in the open it merely sentences a lot of people to an agonising death instead of pulverising them. The one slung under the media stand at the centre of the gathering has an augmented warhead to make it more deadly, not more humane.
I watch it all. Ignoring the tears streaming down my face and the sounds of my staff retching into waste bins behind me. People turned to flaming mist, people suffocating in a vacuum then screaming in silent agony as burning fuel fills the place where air should be. At the edges of the demonstration, I see people with blood shooting from their ears, noses and mouths. Then firestorm follows pressure wave. Obliteration rolls across the view.
“Close the borders. Implement Emergency Procedures.”
My staff stare at me. They have had the luxury of only bracing themselves for today, the start. I have not.
“This act will be condemned globally. Closed borders and martial law will make them hesitate. When we don’t do anything against them, they will hide behind their words and do nothing.”
“Sir. The fleets?”
Exceptional thinking in extremis. I nod to acknowledge the quality of question; although the answer is something I have had for weeks.
“All fleets are to co-ordinate with overseas bases to lift our entire presence, then return to international waters as soon as possible. Bring our boys and girls home.”
They kept on insinuating they wanted us to stop meddling. So we will gather in and see to our internal strifes. Intercontinental trade agreements with China will supply what we cannot make. The Chinese rulers have withstood nearly three millennia by being insular. Let us see how we do.
The rest of you? You’re on your own. Good luck.
Author : James McGrath
He would arrive soon. My partner, DA09-V65, was sure of that.
“The programming of your ’emotion’ is conflicting with your logic,” he replied when I questioned his certainty, “With the information we have that is easy to deduce.”
I sighed, “Ok Dave, no need to get like that.”
It took an additional 0.003 seconds for him to reply when I called him Dave, but he had learnt not to ask me to stop, “It also causes you to be easily insulted.”
“It’s needed for empathy, you know that!” I snapped back.
A short silence followed and I concentrated on watching the warehouse across the docks. Surprisingly, Dave spoke first.
Why was he saying that?
“Good. Apologies if I caused further offense, but regarding this your thoughts elude me.”
It’s like he could get into my mind!
When had I begun calling it my ‘mind’?
That worried me.
Doctor 9045-00R scuttled across the docks with a sack over her shoulder and a briefcase. She failed to spot us and after a hurried glance around, entered the warehouse.
“Where do you think she got them?” I asked, killing time to let the doctor begin. We needed concrete evidence.
“Statistics suggest China. Africa is possible,” again Dave’s answer was slower, this time due to concentrating on the warehouse.
“Crazy to think that there’s any left.”
“Your RAM would be put to better use concentrating on the task at hand.”
Dave couldn’t get bored.
The sound of a circular saw told us that it was time to move. We strode across to the warehouse unit and drew our pistols as Dave carefully slid open the door. The doctor could slip if we startled her and kill… I mean destroy the patient.
However, the doctor was quicker than we thought. The saw lay at her feet and what she was doing was far more disturbing.
Another robot lay on an operating table; he was silent which suggested his pain receptors had been disabled. His left hand lay severed on the floor beside the saw.
“Desist from what you are doing and raise both arms,” Dave said stoically as though he was asking for a simple favour.
The patient began to scream unrelentingly in response, while the doctor’s hands sped up. She was attaching the wires in the patient’s arm to an object that she was leaning over, obscuring it from view.
We knew what it was.
It was a human hand.
I felt repulsed, then realised this was unprofessional and shouted, “9077-8V2, be quiet! 9045-00R cease your actions!”
“My name is OLIVER!” Screamed the patient, “I am almost HUMAN!”
He certainly sounded insane.
The doctor stepped back and raised her hands, her work now complete.
“You can’t take me!” screamed the patient, “This is fine! Look!”
He held out his new hand and the little finger twitched slightly.
“Irrelevant,” Dave told him, “You are under arrest.”
When the back-up car arrived they took “Oliver” and the doctor away and Dave handed me the sack.
Inside was what appeared to be most of a human male.
“Don’t, that’s repulsive.”
“Good,” There was a pause, “They were warmongers. They slaughtered one another and crippled this world due to their emotions. We can never be them; we will always have a processor, never a brain, no matter how hard some of us desire it. Should we become too close though, we could develop their destructive instincts.”
“I need to get to the station and interview them.”
I was glad Dave was incapable of disappointment.