All You Zombies
A hologram of Holly blipped in front of Wolf and solidified as crazed, grey men lurched about the promenade attacking people in a crowd that had deadlocked itself in a chaotic rout.
“I’ve finished analyzing the binary from the ‘Peace’ poster, but it’s not binary code. It’s some kind of code,” she said to Wolf, “Or it seems to be. It’s a series of words with no clear pattern. Maybe used to initiate a program or unlock something.”
“Holly, hon,” Wolf pointed behind her. “You’re missing everything.”
Holly turned to see a grey man lunge toward her. Her hologram flickered, the grey man fell through and landed belly down.
“He looks odd,” Holly said looking down at the creature.
“He looks like he was raised in a cave. Grey skin and bug eyes.”
“Or a mine. I suspect these are the miners,” she bent down closer to the grey man, “He shows several features of prolonged subterranean dwelling, but his face…Could you stand up please?” she said to the grey man. Continue reading
“Smells like shit down here,” Cheryl said, standing in the basement under Bart’s florist shop, covering her nose.
“There’s sacks of composted manure in the corner,” said Bart, “I cleared off a few workbenches for you to set up on.”
“It’s great,” Sophie offered, “We’ll adjust.”
Cheryl dumped some of her perfume onto a bandana and wrapped it around her face, “Yeah, fine.”
“I can’t fit,” Carl called from the sidewalk down the cellar door.
“Hang on,” Bart called back and lifted a wide, rolling steel door that opened to wide entrance with a ramp leading to the basement, along the alley side of the shop, “I had this installed to facilitate the movement of oversized items. I believe you qualify.”
Carl had to duck to clear the dock door. Upon entering the basement his face twisted in disgust. Continue reading
One Hell of a Party
Shelby sat crouched in the bushes as she had done for almost a year now. Every night, since last November, she’d skulk down dark old lanes, darting from shadow to shadow in an effort see her idol at work; the cat burglar Le Bec. Shelby would sneak into theaters during the day, napping and dreaming along with her screen heroes. When she grew up she was going to be Robin Hood.
“Maid Marian is for girls who went to school,” she would think.
But no character played by Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks could hold a candle to Le Bec. Le Bec had the advantage of being real. Shelby would sit, unseen and observe, learning.
Tonight, Le Bec sat crouched on the the ledge of a third storey window. The house belonged to the Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Tulane, Giles Parker. Le Bec had overheard a conversation Parker was having at a recent social gathering to celebrate the re-election of Verne Sturgis to the Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeals. The exchange concerned the relocation of an artifact of great power to Parker’s house. Le Bec remembered Parker sounding reluctant, but was eventually brow beaten by Judge Sturgis who seemed keen to have it relocated from his home.
“We drew the lots, Parker. It’s your turn to house the Jade Peregrine,” Sturgis growled. Continue reading
Who’ll Stop the Rain?
Pietro pulled Cletus along, who was stumbling to keep up. More humanoid fishmen began emerging from the water closer and closer to them. Pietro darted to avoid them, losing his grip on Cletus. Cletus pulled out his crossbows and began firing his exploding vials at the approaching fishmen as he backed away. Pietro darted between them jabbing them with his daggers and kicking their legs out from under them. The fishmen began emerging from the floodwaters en masse and charging toward them. Bartolo appeared and charged past Cletus and Pietro barrelling through the fishmen front line, scattering them. The fishmen converged on him. He grabbed one by the leg and began bludgeoning the others with its body. As Bartolo swung his weaponized fishman, its harpoon was impaling others and adding them to the mass, whose harpoons in turn snagged more fishmen until Bartolo was swinging a flail made of fishmen. After clearing several of them, Bartolo grabbed Cletus and threw him over his shoulder.
“Head back, Pietro!” Bartolo yelled. “I’m right behind you.” Continue reading
A Hot Time in the Old Town
Luna sat in the cockpit of The Starcrossed, staring out the window into empty space, trying to ignore the commotion in the back.
“Now, thread that green wire,” Holly said over the comms, “No Dad, the green wire.”
“This is green,” Wolf barked.
“What color is this?”
“78.43 percent blue, 18 percent green, 3.57 percent grey,” Tycho croaked.
“See?” Wolf said. “It’s got green in it.”
“It’s one to the left of the exhaust regulator,” Holly grumbled. “The left, Dad.”
“I need a beer,” Wolf sighed.
“We just got started.”
“Beer will keep me from putting my foot through your monitor.”
Cheryl raced in and out of lanes on the Ben Franklin bridge into Philadelphia, Carl’s trailer wagging behind. Plumes of grey and white smoke could be seen rising between the buildings in the skyline. She roared past a police car that slipped out of its lane and flashed its sirens.
“Great,” she shouted.
The police car changed lanes again and zipped past Cheryl.
“Great,” she laughed.
“Can you tell me why we’re storming back into the lion’s den?” Ian poked his head into the front seat. “We cross this bridge we’re in Vyx-controlled territory. He has the whole city in his pocket.”
“That thing is running amok on my software,” Cheryl barked.
“And,” Sophie chimed in, “We can’t just let it hurt a bunch of people if we can help it.”
“I guess that’s the positive upshot,” Cheryl mumbled. “And our stray dog back there needs his fix.”
Hunter put his hand out to Ian, “Hunter Yeager.”
“Ian Roland,” he sai, returning the gesture.
“Your name is ‘Hunter Hunter’?” Cheryl quipped.
“I never considered that,” Hunter replied.
And In The End
“What are you playing at?” Delareux grumbled at Rasputin who was holding Toli and him at gunpoint in his lab.
“Thanks to the many fine subjects, yielded by the streets of New Orleans, I’ve have finally perfected a serum that will give me an unstoppable army. Soon the Goblin Liberation Army will administer my Ichor into the water supply and the whole city be a mighty force,” Rasputin flipped a switch and the portraits of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra slid up and revealed the preserved corpses of the same, in glass cases, “A force I will use to crush the Soviets, bringing glory back to the Russian Empire, to Tsar Nicholas and his lovely bride Alexandra.”
“You’re insane,” Toli barked, “They’re dead.”
“Is okay,” Rasputin replied, “I know a guy. Now, you two. You’ve been thorns in my side long enough,” he raised his gun to shoot.