They were all here for the same reason. Not just music; that was implied by the posters, the homemade shirts, the thin station hallway packed full of stitched-together styles and clashing hairdos. Most of these people were miners, haulers, maintenance workers – the ones that did the work so others could live. Even with the small boosts to pay last quarter, these were thankless tasks, and the crowd was clearly a sea of comrades in arms, all frustrated beyond a doubt and looking for an out.
A conversation with a stranger in the middle of the night.
The rain was heavy with purpose, landing with resounding thuds all around them; Taks thought it might be trying to cleanse the ground of battle, to remove old sins from the soil and soak the earth with hope instead. Maybe it was sick of the old world’s scars and wanted to wipe the slate clean.
With what had happened here, that was a losing battle in itself.
“Taks, damnit!” Marta bellowed as the tarp Taks had been holding slipped and flapped in the wind. “Hold it steady! Hog’s teeth, I don’t want to spend all night at it!”
Their mind was wandering again. Taks half-yelled an apology that was eaten by the storm and groped in the dim light for the tarp’s edge. Their fingers connected with the Orb’s eerie metallic surface, centuries of detail exposed to the brutal elements; it still felt hot even after so much time. They helped Marta stake down the rest of the tarp in embarrassed silence, covering the gaping hole in the Orb’s top; of the field’s choices, this one had the most intact structure, which wasn’t saying much.
// LOG 4101.16.14
// USER: -Exobiologist Ve’ran Gazzwelle-
// WARNING: LOG CONTAINS CORRUPTED SECTORS; DATA LOSS: 41%
// LOG BEGINS
// [ExoBio Ve’ran Gazzwelle] <The moss we’ve seen here is not native to this region, and it doesn’t have a clear reproductive process. Normally, we could grow it in the lab from a spore or even a small fragment->
// [Unknown] <indistinct chatter>
This story takes place in my scifi setting for the game “The Void Cavalcade” that I GM. The party has just pulled off a heist to kidnap a local crime magnate, an alien named Rekkis. This tells what happened to them after the party turned them in…
Earth isn’t gone. But sometimes, we wish it was.
When all this started, we’d just achieved long-range spaceflight with the Cleave drives – my great-grandparents were on one of the first cruisers out to the Alpha Centauri system. Kind of a big deal, getting to escape the solar system like that. We’d managed to colonize a few worlds in our backyard, but ideal they weren’t; if we could get our ships to cut through interstellar space the way they did in our neighbourhood, we might have a better chance at finding a liveable world.
Terraforming? That’s a fool’s errand. Best you can hope for is to change a series of icy moons into windy dustballs that snow like the devil’s dandruff, or make a bunch of dry rocks into slightly moist ones. ‘Course, other folks in the galaxy might have other notions, but they weren’t around then; it was just humans trying to find a new home in the badlands.
I’ve been feeling instru
About the way I’m being held
Figurehead, like a grand tree, just
Waiting to be felled
When your time is up, timber,
The funeral march drones
Down into soil to grow the next
Regime upon your bones
You’ve got me feeling funda
With your book of holy text
Warping tales to fit around you
Like the noose around your necks
When you see the face of those outside
Your tidy little group
Do you see the people, lives and dreams,
Or only heathen soup?
Now I’m feeling senti
For the things I once held close
Shut up in some chest-of-drawers
Away from those that need them most
They tell me “give that up”;
You’re a child no more
But they hand me things no human wants
And try to sell me war
We treat them like they’re orna
Put the doll upon the dais
Worship at the feet of your idol
Before you burn and raze
If you’re planning out to conquer
All your neighbours and their fields
Reconsider who you pray to and
The power that it wields
This whole song’s experi
Digging into words and sounds
Playing up on emphasis and
Making sure the meaning pounds
Sometimes the lyrics flow like wine
But often Bacchus is a hog
And out come words that muck and mire
It’s really quite a slog
Listened to “Departure Songs” by We Lost The Sea while hashing this out. I sometimes write lyrics for songs that don’t exist yet.
Hope your Saturday is going well.
“What do you mean, ‘your bones are no good here’?” Festree said, confused. “These are third-age roach skeletons, they’re worth at least a few old wyrds.”
The creature sat idle in its chair by the fireplace, fingers aglow with the last vestiges of its cigar. How long had it been smoking that, I wondered, as I rose to stoke the fire – not for the first time that evening, I realized. The woodpile had been steadily consumed, greedy flames lighting the dim parlour with their grim energy; when had the sun gone down?
“Ah, but it is no matter.” Said the creature, all horn and tooth and skin of scale, shifting forms in the twisting shadows. It took me a moment to understand that it had been speaking aloud to itself, and I had, what, dozed off? In the dim light, its shape was gigantic and diminutive all at once, a thing of true unknowing. Something beyond my ken. It continued, “I’ve another here. Pass me the matches, would you?”
The station wheeled through the void carelessly, metal carapace groaning and creaking against the sheer vacuum that surrounded it. The Jovian moon of Callisto swirled in the darkness below, framed by the gigantic sphere of gas and storms that was Jupiter. The rings glinted in sparkling sunlight, sunlight that had careened through space at such unimaginable speeds just to shine against all these tumbling, hurtling rocks. Even the other moons twinkled in the distance, hot white sparks against the deep black canvas behind.
It all looked so fake.