Circular Extinction

Battlestar Galactica: The Rebootening was actually a pretty good series, but reflecting back on it, I realize that the parts that I liked best were the beginning and the end.

 

Not just the beginning showing us that an interplanetary civilization can (and will, if we get to that point) be taken down by lust, but that moment-

 

-that wonderful moment-

 

-when a hostile actor decides that things will start and end
with vernichtung.

 

 

The Cylons were pretty much carpetnuking Caprica when the traitor (Traitor? He never did run that test on himself, did he?) Gaius Baltar escaped. When the humans offered unconditional surrender, they were met with…

 

…silence, and more bombs.

 

The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth… They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth.
 
The perfect end to an imperfect story, but not the ending we got.

 

Five or eight or seven seasons later, after squirming like an earthworm on the sidewalk under the magnifying-glass focused Cylon sun, the remaining colonists… colonize, finding another new planet to replace the scorched Earth.

 

And we know what happens when the colonizers come calling, don’t we?

 

St. Iain (not me you fucking dolt, the author. No, I’m just a writer, and not a very good one at that. Try and focus, will you?) tells us that:
An Outside Context Problem was the sort of thing most civilisations encountered just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop.

 

After the death of (acting) President (Education Secretary or some unlikely shit) Palin, Commander William “Hüsker Dü” Adama spends the rest of his short life jumping in and out of a lake that thinks it’s a gin and tonic. The rest of the doughty crew and survivors of the S.S. (spaceship) Minnow, who, despite having lost all their guns when the sole surviving professional athlete in the universe stole the fleet and set the controls for the heart of the sun, are still able to use their ignorance of germs and knowledge of steel to exterminate the local “missing link” autochthones, save for a raped few whose partial DNA survived long enough to confuse things for future genealogists.

 

And so it ends, with a race escaping genocide perpetrating genocide.

 

Perfect.

Last Run

It was a tough run, but we made it, we finally made it. With five minutes to spare, but time runs funny up here.

The boss promised me that this would be my final one, take one last load of Unbelievers up North and I’d be out, with a new identity and a fat bank account. Half a mile more and I’d be done.

As the train passed slowly through the city, the kids yammered on about elves. Elves and the Big Guy, all they ever thought they wanted to see.

They didn’t know.

I felt bad about what was going to happen to them, but that was the price of Unbelief. I knew all about that, I’d paid it myself. To look at me, I was in my fifties, but on the calendar, I wasn’t even seventeen. Heck, by Easter these kids will be in their early thirties. How else do you think the Man in Red can make all those presents in a single year?

“Ellllvesss!” For a moment I hoped that the kid had just seen some of the loaders. Older workers looked a bit like elves; decades of hard labor and a diet of nothing but reindeer meat and hot cocoa did funny things to the body. Elves, on the other hand, were bad news. I’d seen one once; it had gotten in through the sewers when I was about forty. They finally captured it, but at a cost. At the next roll call we all had to watch as it literally shredded seven of the flightless culls before being hosed down with napalm. And that was after it had been de-fanged. That demonstration had ended any talk of escape.

For obvious reasons, Mrs. C (yeah, she handled the dirty work. Surprised?) always gassed the sleigh loaders last, but these weren’t redshirts, these were Elves, real Elves, a mob of them boiling up one of the side streets. Must have breached the Wall. I heard a reassuring thump from overhead, and knew that my partner had seen them too. “You: four-eyes!” I barked.

“My name’s not four-eyes, it’s –“

Don’t care. You know who Ma Deuce is?”

His eyes lit up behind his glasses. “Yes, sir! The M2 Browning fifty caliber machine gun is a heavy –“

Thought you would. Ghost is setting one up on the roof. Now get on up there, he’ll tell you what to do. Pigtails! You’re pretty smart, think you’re smart enough to work a flamethrower?” She stared, uncomprehending. “It’s like one of those super soaky squirt guns, but it shoots fire. There’s one in the last car. Get to the platform on the back and hose down anything that gets close.” She gaped again. “For the love of Mike, GO!”

Who else? The kid from Edbrooke was already toast, curled up on the floor in a puddle of his own piss, but where was the other one, the troublemaker?

Smart kid, he was right behind me. “Listen, young man,” I said, taking one of the M4 carbines down from the concealed overhead rack, “we’re in some serious jelly, but we’ve got to protect this train. This,” showing him the gun, “kills Elves. Help is on the way, and if we’re lucky, we’ll live to see it.”

Of course, if the Elves didn’t get him, the little Unbeliever would spend the next decades of his year-long life in the Workshop, but the least I could do was give him the chance of a painless death. “If not, don’t try to be a hero, boy. Those things out there will make you wish you’d never heard of Christmas. If they get on board, save the last one,” I ejected a single round and dropped it into the pocket of his robe, “for yourself.”

Me? I locked myself in the cleaning closet. Didn’t get out of the Workshop and into the Conductor job through self-sacrifice now, did I?

Succession

A little tidbit to kick off the Holy Month of Halloween. I’m going to try and make a point of posting more often this month.

If it kills me.

 

The old King had fallen, beheaded by a terrified concubine who’d somehow managed to pull one of the ornamental axes from the wall. The palace guard, alerted, had managed to head off the Crown Prince’s escape attempt. Strapped to the throne, he was anointed by one of the Brothers of St. Lazarus, who, hooded, chained, and groaning, had been brought from their underground monastery to administer the sacramental Bite.

A scant quarter-hour later, the Lord Chamberlain appeared on the balcony. “The King,” he said, excitement shining in his eyes, “is Dead!”

“Long live the King!”

Xzodis

This was written as a contest entry, with the theme: “Victims of Fashion.” It fared… poorly.

 

The Profesor, he’s a Greeter but he uset’a work at Misk-U, he say’s We should write down about what happenne’d before We go Outside to Start Fresh beacause it’ll maybe end up a Historicall Art-Fact, so here I go.

I was shaveing Konny from Autamotives’s back when We run clean Out a fresh blade’s and I still had the Crack and Sack to go. Konnys’ half-Greek and half-Wookie, if you ask me, so shaveing him was Quite the Chore, but the Profesor say’d Remembber Nano’s live on natureal fiber’s for Safetys’ Sake We all gotta shave all over Everywhere. The razor was getting pretty Dull so I told Konny Hey Konny I don’t know What Im’ gonna do about you’re Ass, but then Mizz Nugyen from Pharmacy say’d Do’nt you worry Bob I got this. She had them Brazillion Lady waxer’s she say’d Bob you probly do’nt wanna watch, and Konny, you might wanna bite down on this pencil so you do’nt Scream to much.

Let me tell you, Konny Screame’d plenty, but when she was done he was Clean as a Whissle down their.

Anyway the Profesor say’d Its’ ben a Month and the Foods’ all Gone, We gotta go Outside a the Store tommorrow, so We gotta impervise Bunny-Suits. At first I thought he meant like Playboy Girl’s but he say’d No, not like that, CleanSuit’s and I said Those CleanSuit’s are what starte’d all the Trouble in the First Place, are you Crazy!!!?

See, I should exsplain about that probly. Those Fashen company’s dream’ed up a fancey whachamacallit called CleanSuit’s what it did was allway’s keep you’re clothe’s Spick an Spann. It was these teensy-weensy robot’s like dust, called Nano’s, and they put them on you’re clothe’s, and once they was on, they would’nt let any stank or dirt mess up you’re stuff. They got they’re power from eating you’re dead skin right off a you’re body. Their was 2 problem’s tho, 1, they was hella expensive, like, a shirt would cost you a extra 50 buck’s, and 2, they only live’d on like Silk and Wooll, so the Result being was that only rich folk’s could buy them, typicaly.

We had the Last Laff tho when the Nano’s went nut’s and starte’d eating up all those rich fucker’s alive. Their was 28 a Us in Here when It Happenne’d, and Believe You Me we did’nt let nobody else inside. But its’ been 2 week’s since the last a the Body’s in the lot disappeare’d and the Profesor thinks its’ OK to go Outside now long as we make up the Bunny-Suit’s all out a sinthetic’s. Me, I’m wearing my Croc’s, 4 pair a Ladie’s XXL nylon’s, a Peek-achoo hoodey and dishwashering gloves. My junk kinda show’s but the Profesor say’s Bob you look Just Fine their’s No Way any Nano’s are getting passed That Much Sinthetic’s, so everyboddys wearing Pretty Much the Same.

We ain’t staying in the Wallymart no more, Wer’e gonna re-built the World.

Harry Potter?

So (I assume) to promote the new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie, my local cable company ran all the Harry Potter movies over the weekend.

Now, I’m not a big fan of Harry Potter, but that’s not a crack against them, I’m just way outside of the target demographic, but I decided to give the movies another watch because why not?

Missed the first one or two, but I definitely saw Goblet of Fire from the start, and man are those stories messed up. I’m going on the assumption that they tracked the books closely enough, and I’m sure most of this has been said before, but…

The Tri-Wizard Cup. Tri. Three. Sure, evil baddy can put Harry’s name in somehow, but…

Wait a minute, this competition could be fatal. Shouldn’t you have some sort of security to stop anyone but the applicant from putting their name in? I mean, I’m afraid to enter writing contests, damned if I want someone slipping my name into the stinkin’ Hunger Games if I don’t have to try out.

And that speaks to another thing. I was only half-watching the movies, so I don’t know which one, or ones, I’m on about, but Hogwart’s is a mess. You’ve got a whole bunch of mischievous kids to young adults running around learning magic, and apparently no magical countermeasures in place. Hermione uses magic to help Ron cheat on his sky soccer tryout, his brothers nuke the underclass midterms, Harry’s dad was a magical bully, and no one ever seems to face consequences for anything. It’s like running a computer school and not investing in basic antivirus and firewalls. Plus, as a teacher, some would even say professor, I’ve let class out a few minutes early on occasion, but I don’t think there’s been a Hogwart’s lecture that’s lasted more than about ten minutes before either the professor or one of the students manages to catastrophically fuck things up, leading to a “class dismissed, and your homework is to try and put the flames on your eyebrows out.”

Right, back to that Tri-Wizard… Yeah, three. It’s a magically binding contract with a cup that can’t even count to three without taking a right turn at Albequoikey? RU serious?

And sure, I’m all for letting seventeen-year-olds make decisions that could lead to their deaths. Seriously; I turned eighteen in boot camp, it’s cool with me. But one thing that not even the Marines did to me was put my sister in a position where she’d be killed if I didn’t successfully complete a task that I’d had no instruction on how to do. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair to hold family members and friends hostage to a glorified best athlete competition, although it would make the homecoming game more interesting if it ended with the decapitation of the cheerleading squad of the losing team…

Changed my mind, that bit’s cool.

So before he goes swimming with the fish-chix, Harry’s gotta take a bath in Tony Montana’s tub, where he meets a girl who normally hangs out around the men’s room, and boy is she eager for a peek at Harry’s hairy Harold. Of course, she’s dead, so neither she nor Harry are going to get much more than an eyeful.

Or are they? She’s clearly not the “spiritual echo” kind of ghost that’s forever condemned to repeat the same actions; she’s got quite a bit of volition, and her interest in Harry suggests that she might be capable of…enjoying…herself, given the opportunity.

But contact is impossible.

So basically, she could become a camgirl for the male members of the student body.

Or maybe she already does, when she first showed up in that movie, she was halfway out of a commode.

Eeewww. Her fetish, not mine.

But anyway, nobody’s going to get pregnant or catch a social disease, like dysentery.

Ick.

Right, moving on. In one of the later movies, Voldemort tells the baddy high council that somebody or other was suggesting that wizards breed with muggles, and the whole table reacted with derision and disgust. You know what this means, don’t you?

Every year a certain adult site releases its stats on who, living where, is streaming what from their site. Like the folks at 742 Evergreen Terrace are super into movies featuring three or more….

Nevermind.

The data they release (as opposed to what they collect, and I swear someone breaks into my house every night around midnight, I’m fast asleep with my lovely wife in the other room, I can never catch the bastards) is at the national or state level, and one data point that’s been fairly constant is that interracial (which, I’m given to understand by my ex-roommate’s uncle’s cousin’s community college statistics teacher almost invariably refers to movies featuring African American men with Caucasian women) movies are most popular in the bits of America we now call the Southeast, but which were briefly referred to as the Confederate States of America, and were known for their somewhat divergent take on race relations.

So anyway, back to Voldemort. This means that in the wizarding community, there’s probably a small but dedicated group of men who like nothing more than the sickening thrill of watching a pretty young witch defile herself with a…dentist. There’s probably a muggle brothel in Hogsmead, and the odds that Snape and the boyz have spent some time tied up there being forced to say “Please, mistress, call me a customer-service rep,” while being flogged with a feather-duster are quite high.

Okay, that’s that.

Not quite, first a very short bit of fan-fiction. I’ve never read the books, so the tone is probably off, but what the hell, here we go:

Voldemort held his wand in front of him, a blast of purplish-blue lightning lancing out of it. It had nearly reached Harry when he raised his hand, pointed his wand, and yelled “EXPECTO PATRONUM”, which caused a silvery shield to form in front of him, blocking the dark wizard’s assault. Changing tactics, Voldemort began to fire a series of smaller spells, which the younger wizard parried while sending out his own attacks. For a few moments, the battle resembled a choreographed ballet, but then Harry summoned his last reserve of strength and sent a massive red beam from his wand, a beam which Voldemort blocked with apparent difficulty.

Suddenly, there was a new noise, a single, sharp “BOOM!”, and Voldemort dropped, his shield collapsing immediately. Harry approached the downed creature carefully, confused at how his spell had penetrated the Dark Lord’s wards so quickly. His wand at the ready, he peered down at the hole in Voldemort’s forehead, then spun as he heard a footstep behind him.

“Hermione! Don’t do that to me, I could have killed you. I..,” he didn’t know what to say. “I think I killed him, but I don’t know how.”

Hermione cocked her head and sighed. “No, Harry, you just distracted him; I killed him.”

“But, but how? His shielding spells were so strong, I could only tire him, he was going to ki-“

“Yes, Harry, I know. But I have a new kind of wand, a wand that uses spells that no wizard has the power to block.” She held up her hand, a curiously curved wand dangling from one finger by a loop fixed near its midpoint.

“What kind of wand is that? Dragon, unicorn, oh, oh, kraken?” Harry stammered.

“No, Harry, none of those. This has been passed down in my family for over half a century, since my grandfather’s time. It’s called a Webley.”

Yeah, I know, it’s crap, but I’m not going to bother to rework it, I’d have to read all the books to get the voice right, and… nope.

Thanks for reading, if you got this far.

 

One Night Stand

She helped him into his coffin as the sky to the east began to brighten. “See you tonight, my love” she said, but he made no response.

“Well,” she huffed, “that was rather rude, and after all I just let you do with, no, not with, to me.” A part of her knew that this close to sunrise, he was dead on his feet, bedroom exercises or not, but that part was burned out by the white hot rage flaring its way up from her core. She’d been a fool, a damn fool, to think that a vampire would be any more considerate than a human man. Men, vampires, werewolves, shoggoths, deep down they all turned out to be the same in the end: Selfish, inconsiderate scum.

“Let’s see how you look with a tan, you bloodsucking bastard!” she screamed, and began to drag the coffin up the stairs of the cellar, into the rapidly brightening world above.

Training Day

A little bit of humor, with a bit of horror. This was written in response to a challenge to write a story with 237 words. Use the words: cart, blades, showmanship, and towels.

Look, kid, teppanyaki cooking’s got very little to do with cooking. If you done your job right, the guests’ll never notice how the food tastes, only the prep. I been here five years now, but don’t worry, coupla weeks and you’ll have it down.

First, in the kitchen, make sure your cart’s got everything you need. Checklist: Cutlery, oil, spices. Careful, them knives got blades that are sharper than God. Show you how to keep ’em that way later.

Next thing is the uniform. Make sure the hat fits right, too small and it’ll tip right off your head, too loose and boom, it’s a blindfold. Ditto for the jacket, that pocket’s gotta stay open nice and wide for the shrimp tail catch. I’ll teach ya that one later. Aright, let’s head out to a table and get in some practice.

Like I said before, it’s not about what you make, it’s about the showmanship; every move comes with a tap on the table. Get a rhythm going; place and tap, salt and tap, cut and tap, see? Okay, with me. One and two and shrimp down, spatula tap, salt the shrimp, salt shaker tap, shaker down, spatula tap, flip the shrimp, fork tap, spear the shrimp, knife tap, cut the shrim…

Shit, somebody get me some towels and call 9-1-1. And get that finger off the grill and into some ice. God I hate training days….

A Medical Experiment

Right, got to get something up here even though I’m pretty stymied in my writing these days. This is from quite a few years ago, when I was obviously heavily under the influence of the good doctor, and more or less really happened.

 

. . .and when the furniture started shaking and I heard the howling, I shot out from under the bottom bunk in a heartbeat. I’d been sleeping there because the cold iron in the frame helped ward off the elven and fairy mercs that my roommate had hired to. . . well, that’s a story for another time. . . Anyway, the San Jose earthquake had been only a few weeks prior, and I assumed that it was another aftershock until Jack came plummeting out of the top rack, naked as a jaybird, drunk as a lemur, and masturbating like an orangutan who’d just overdosed through the main line on Viagra and amphetamines. . . which turned out to be closer to the truth than I could ever have imagined. . . seems the poor bastard was the unwitting subject of some experimental work being conducted by a joint task force made up of elements of the DoD, FDA, and CIA. . . They were working on a new war drug which included an early form of Viagra, along with some stimulants and a powerful synthetic hallucinogen, the hope was that it would leave the enemy troops so disoriented with lust that effective resistance would be minimal. Unfortunately, field trials revealed a couple of things: First, that gas or spray dispersal was ineffective; the effects Jack had been experiencing occurred after injections that were measured in ounces, not parts per million. Second, it was found that the control group, namely Third Platoon, reacted the exact same way to saline injections and Miller Genuine Draft. . . by the time they discontinued dosing Jack, however, the residual effects from some inadvertent conditioning that had occurred with him were painfully obvious: After three or so beers, he began leering at any and all females in the area, regardless of age or apparent health. Stronger drink had more significant effects, one night after we’d all been sitting around drinking tequila with brake fluid chasers it took four strong Marines and a nearby fire hose to wrest him from the trees in front of the Navy E-Club where he’d been trying to rape one of the peacocks. . .

Abuse

I had really hoped to write something totally new for the site this week, and I was making a good start when I got sidetracked by something that’s threatening to turn into a novel. I may post some excerpts later on, but for now, here’s a light-hearted tale of child abuse. Believe it or not, no trigger warnings this time.

 

John sat at the kitchen table, flipping idly through the local paper on his tablet while Mandy busied herself at the blender getting breakfast ready. “Here you go, hon,” she said, putting the protein shake in front of him. “Um, John? What we talked about last night?”

“Mm, thanks,” he said, reaching for the tall, slightly pinkish shake without taking his eyes from the screen. “Yep, I think it could be a good idea. Doing some research right now.” He raised the glass to his lips, took a swallow, and started to cough and choke. “Ugh, oh god, no-,” putting his hand to his mouth, he shot up, overturning his chair, and rushed to the bathroom, the sound of his retching into the toilet coming clearly down the hall.

“John, what is it? Was it the shake? I know strawberry isn’t your favorite, but they were out of-”

“No, that’s not it.” He emerged from the bathroom, wiping his mouth on a small towel. “The things people will do to their….well, just look,” he said, handing her the tablet and pointing.

“Free to good home, healthy Caucasian baby boy, blond hair, eyes still blue at 6 mos., birth weight-”

“No, down at the bottom. Look,” he pointed, “right here.”

“Circumcised, poor thing, and….oh, no…..Okay Google” she said, and waited for the microphone icon to flash, “Child Protective Services, Monroe County.” As the new window opened, she looked at her husband with tears in her eyes. “The things people will do to a poor, innocent child. I hope they throw those parents and the doctor in jail for a long, long time. Vaccinated?”