*Not quite yet, though it will seem like a good idea at the time*
Iain grabbed the thick stick and turned it slightly, feeling significant resistance in the effort. The stream of light twisted and swirled. How the hell was he supposed to find the star cluster they were looking for in the swirling glare? Oddly enough, he didn’t get dizzy or lose his lunch. But that was mostly because by the time he was considering that he realized he’s closed his eyes as tight as possible.
I think we are in a spin, the autopilot offered in helpful tone. Is that what you want?
“No!” Iain shouted. “I want us going in a straight line towards the Lesser Xemorian Bubble.”
I think you’re going about it the wrong way, the voice offered in a tentative tone.
“What should I do then?” Iain demanded.
Be gentle, was the response. Once you’ve stabilized our trajectory you can point the shuttle anywhere you would like to
“I thought you were the autopilot,” he complained. “Shouldn’t you be controlling things after takeoff?”
I believe ‘was the audiopilot’ is the correct terminology, the voice replied. I don’t appear to be able to control much of anything, I am afraid. I’m sorry if you are finding that inconvenient. My last round of maintenance was seventy-four thousand years ago.
Iain swore, then followed the autopilots advice, eased a bit off on the force he was putting into the stick. The brightness trying to burn a hole through his eyelids faded a bit, to more of a bright green. He peaked out through his right eye, though just a crack. There was a rainbow shooting at him through the screen in front of him.
“Is that better?” he wondered aloud.
That’s much better, the voice said. You done this before, haven’t you?
*About 22,000 years after you read you last tweet*
Iain wasn’t conscious, he couldn’t be. After all, he felt significantly softer than he usually did. Add to that was the physical sensation he was being squeezed like a plush teddy bear in the arms of a needy five-year-old clinched it. The squeezing was uncomfortable at times, but not so unpleasant he was going to force the issue and actually wake himself up. Maybe he’d just mixed some tequila with Mrs. Vukovitch’s medical marijuana again. That would explain a lot.
When consciousness finally forced the issue, Iain’s mind was clear enough to know he wasn’t where he last remembered he was, and neither was his body. It was chilly, enough to make him shiver, but not damp, like the wet foggy mid-October evening he recalled. He was also lying on something hard and cold, and didn’t seem to be wearing any clothes.
Oh, shit! Not again. Not on a work night.
And… his nose twitched. What was that smell?
The inside of his eyelids glowed blue. Not likely a good sign. He opened them tentatively.
About a hand’s breadth from his face, two faces were peering at him. Both had bleary, bloodshot looking eyes, large noses, and their collective breaths stank like a brewery.
Fuck, yes. Again. Fuck me.
Iain let out a disgusted sigh. He didn’t seem to have the motivation to move, but that wasn’t a big surprise either.
And you wonder why you can’t crack four grand a month.
The two faces looking over him rose to look at each other.
“I think we should have selected the other one,” said the one on the left. “Defrosted, he looks even more like a Mime.”
The other, eerily similar face glanced back at Iain. It worked its mouth like it was trying to come up with a response, or was maybe sucking on something rather sour.
“I don’t think so,” it finally replied, glancing past Iain’s head for a moment before turning back to meet his blinking gaze. “Besides, his brain’s already active and is responding to the ‘Zos. We’d already be dead if he was a Mime. Or he would be. At best, it’s 50-50. Or 40-60. Maybe 30-70.”
“I’m not a Mime,” Iain forced out in a harsh whisper, becoming acutely aware of a monster hangover, like the king of all brain-freezes. Clearly, he’d drunk too much at the gig. A record probably. He’d never had a blackout this bad before. And, to be honest, he still wasn’t convinced he was awake.
“See,” the guy on the left said. These were guys, he decided. “Not a Mime. You know they don’t communicate like normal people.”
“And not screaming either, not like the last three,” his partner replied adding a goofy smile to his odd features. “Good sign.”
“Got to be a first time for everyone,” lefty said.
Iain tried to get up. Managed to pull himself a touch vertical by reaching out to grab the rail of whatever they’d put him in. The figures backed away. The lights streaming down were too bright, forcing him to squint. Evidence was beginning to ramp up he was indeed awake, and this was no longer remotely funny.
“Where the fuck are my clothes?!” he wanted to know. “Who the hell are you guys?!”
The one on the left turned to the one on the right. He could make out that they were big, overweight guys with big pointy noses, tufts of white hair on the tops of their heads. They looked like identical twins, or almost identical. And they were wearing orange coveralls.
“Oh, the stuff,” Righty nodded. “Could you go and get it.”
“Why do I have to get the stuff,” Lefty complained. “Every single time!”
“Just do it,” his partner said. “I’ll digest your lunch later, ‘kay?”
“Oh all right,” the other agreed, still sounding indignant. “But it better be well digested!”
Read all of my past, present and upcoming webfiction now by becoming a Reader on Patreon.
Also running on Scribble Hub
(YA Science Fiction)
14 year old Tory Ciarelli did not want to get stuck on the planet Mars, but here she is, dragged 50 million miles from her home Earth, by her parents to the new frontier. She has a plan to escape Mars, but might not be able to accomplish her goal on her own.21 year old Gurminder Kalsi is a third generation bornehere Martian, a rig driver working for the planetary clans who were abandoned by Earth but managed to survive and prosper but are now at the mercy of the massive new colonization effort. He too is trapped on the red plane, but not by circumstance, but by biology. Born on Mars he can not leave to go to the world his grandparents came from.But together Tory and Gurminder might be able to find a way out of their traps. If they can work together. If they don't manage to make things worse...
(new chapter every day - scifi)
It has been more than two hundred years since the destruction of galactic civilization by the invasion of the Macros. Althea Ram, exile from a culture which survived the apocalypse, has been searching for answers amongst the lost worlds of the Consortia.
Her past failures, pyrrhic victories and dwindling resources have lead her to plan a desperate transit to Elysium, a world which could provide her everything she needs. But the probability of getting there on the first try is very low. And she has no way of telling how dangerous her destination might be. Because on any lost world, Althea must face dangers; hostile environments, the technologies once beneficial, now warped by Macro control, the decendants of human survivors - turned violent and suspicious by the Macro threat, and even herself, driven by needs she barely controls, or understands.
(new chapter every other day - Fantasy)
Veteran wizard Greylsan Amberglass, ostensibly on a mission to gather chronicles from The Fourth Council's entowered wizards, follows the trail of a doomed borderland margrave in search of his corrupted and dying land's missing Arcory Stones. The search leads him through the Alliance of the Thirteen Greater and Lesser Kingdoms to some uncomfortable truths about how the magic is being conducted in the kingdoms and disturbing answers to own his personal quest.
23 Pangbourne Place (new chapter every other day - Urban Fantasy)
It has been almost thirteen years since a terrible inferno took the lives of Johnny Smith(formerly Hutchison)’s friends and fellows trying to enact a dangerous spell to raise The Devil to grant them special powers. Things didn’t turn out so well, as Johnny was the only survivor.
Since then he has made a special effort to keep himself out of the limelight, ultimately ending up as a the building manager for the apartment building at 23 Pangbourne Place. But nothing has been forgotten, and Johnny is about find out that forces from Hell still have him in mind for their machinations. The question’s are, can he wriggle out from their grasp? Can he keep occupancy at 23 Pangbourne Place at 100%? can he keep his vampire lawyer’s lover’s hands off of him? Are the gargoyles who serve as building security out to get him? And can he face up to what he did in the past, thwart his dark destiny and help his Catholic girlfriend prevent her grandfather from turning into a zombie? Yes, he is going to be a very busy guy this November…
(new chapter every other day - Supernatural Mystery)
Palantine and Co. is an unusual company that does its work in an unusual field. But it's attractive enough to out of work Gary Bellamy, and offers decent pay and a good benefits package. But there are a few things a little strange about the local office. The CEO is perpetually out of town, apparently in search of ‘Enlightenment’. His co-workers are involved in research and investigations involve the likes of Bigfoot, ghosts, walk-ins and other supernatural phenomena, for who its not quite clear. It all seems a bit dodgy to Gary but again, good benefits package.
Ephram Palantine is having problems of his own. His search for Enlightenment hasn’t been going all that well, has lead down some rather bizarre rabbit holes. It's about to get a lot worse.
The employees of Palantine and Co. are themselves hoping their new hire is exactly what they need. Otherworldly phenomena is on the rise. A seven year old girl has gone missing in northern Michigan, and they are sure it involves something that happened to Gary when he was a boy, thirty years ago, not to mention that there have been sightings of same identical dead man on a Lake Erie beach now for several decades. Some might call what Gary and his co-workers are about to get involved in to protect humanity from a world whose borders with other realities are fraying at the edges, incredible and perhaps even insane. Some might call it a mission.