Thursday, 30 June 2016

Really Unimportant Details

Ever since he joined our little group of adventurers to help us since his Gods had guided him to us for his ‘Great Destiny’, he had told us his name was unimportant.

After a few dozen tries to get it out of him, we gave up and started calling him Uni, and that worked.

But after we got caught up in this Otherplane Cult business and sort of saved existence, at the cost of Uni sacrificing himself to close the portal, as he lay dying, I asked him one last time.

“It’s literally Unimportant, idiot…” he said as he died.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Do Some Harm

They were humanoid, although they insisted that we were actually zormanoid.

The first contact was arguable as good as it could have been, given that the Zorman race was highly developed in most fields, but had too many cultural hang-ups to study medicine effectively, and thus were very desperate for anyone to cure the plague that was ravishing their population.

So, we cured their plague, they shared their other technologies, friendships and then romances were developed and it turned out a simple gene splice could make cross-breeding work, all going well…

And then the plague developers turned up, rather annoyed.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Doctoring Emotional Truth

Without communication, humanity doesn’t exist, certainly not in any form we recognize.

And the key to communication is truth. Not actual truth, but the more important emotional truth. Facts are fine, but to truly communicate with someone, you have to understand how they view the world.

Sometimes that’s easy, if it’s just a matter of liking or disliking a movie.

Sometimes it can be difficult, if the topic is about abortion or vaccines or such.

And then you sometimes have to spend years to get someone to understand that maybe blowing up a hospital was a bad thing to do…

Monday, 27 June 2016

Lucky Drops

The smell hit me as soon as I opened the door. I covered my nose and entered the apartment, to find him watching TV.

“The hell happened in here?”

He smiled and whistled, and a bird flew in from somewhere and landed on his shoulder, where it quickly deposited some droppings. Looking at the filthy shirt, I could see it was hardly the first one.

“You know how if a bird poops on you, that’s good luck?”

“I began to explain how it didn’t work if you contrived it, when he started screaming at the lottery numbers on the TV.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Question Grading

Some questions are meaningless. “How are you going?” and “Good weather today, huh?”, those questions, they’re  trivial.

Some questions are important, short term. “Lunch?” and “So which movie?”, those questions, they’re forgettable.

Some questions are really important, can change your life. “Do you take this woman?” and “Should we turn off life support?”, those questions, you never forget them.

But above all else, there are questions you hope you’re never asked, that you do not want to know what your answer of them is. “Where do we dump the body?” is one such.

And one I know the answer to…

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Giving Notes

Lyllian’s adventuring party grew and shrunk over the years, as members joined and left, either to become rulers, to form their own adventuring groups, or because they were dead, or in a couple of cases, more dead.

But there were the two members who were the core. Lyllian, obviously, and Mivin, the bard.

Most new recruits were puzzled as to why a bard was so essential. Lyllian would tell them she needed music to get to sleep.

Plus his ability to cast an illusion of their camp , far away from their own made sure they were almost never ambushed…

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Most Important Measurement

There should have been an alarm, a siren, something, anything.

Of course, to do that, you’d have to be able to measure the entire population at once, keep tabs on everyone, and then work out how to accurately gauge their moods, which would probably go south in most cases given the new monitoring.

But with some hard work and with the passage of time, coupled with all the new measuring technology they didn’t have back then, I can pinpoint, to the moment, when cynicism finally toppled optimism in the country, when one beat the other.

And it’s surprisingly early, actually…

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Schrödinger's Cat

You know Schrödinger's cat, right?

The thought experiment wherein you put a cat, a poison and a radioactive substance in the box, along with a sensor, and if the substance decays, the bottle is smashed and the cat dies. But because of the rules of quantum mechanics, the cat is both alive and dead until the situation is observed, at which point the situation resolves itself.

Now, the issue here, is that it never works in practice, as scientists have tried, but it always just leads to one cat in one state.

Because really, after all, the cat’s observing itself…

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Your Home On Drugs

We got a tip off that the local weed distribution ring had its HQ in the basement of an otherwise normal house.

I guess they got a tip off about the tip off, because when we got there to have a look, the basement looked deserted, spiderwebs the only decorations. My partner was sure going in it was a wild goose chase, that someone was playing a mean joke on the little old lady who lived there.

But given how odd the spiderwebs looked, all full of holes, I brought the little old lady in for questioning.

She broke quickly.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Life Story In Ink

The tiny heart way down my calf was my seventeenth birthday present to myself, I mean eighteenth, of course…

The name on my shoulder was the love on my life.

The wings across my lower back were his idea, but they’re pretty.

The rose covered his name.

The bible quote on my forearm was important to me, I had to get that, money issues be damned, because I needed that focus, that reminder in my life.

The five dots on my hand were forced on me when I went in for trying to run off on paying for the quote…

Monday, 20 June 2016

Exponential Journey

Each country involved in the generational ship initiative didn’t communicate beyond a nuts and bolts level. So while everything on the ship worked, it was a bit of a mishmash in terms of the planning, but since all the humans were in stasis, it shouldn’t have mattered.

But this lack of communication meant that the A.I. didn’t have sanity guards to prevent it going mad, and that it could control the robot, which could build another robot from scratch in 75 years. The trip went for 200 years.

Thus, the exponential wave of robots that swept out the other side…

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Papermore Office

I started controlling my breathing as I got off on the fifth floor, as I couldn’t afford to blow up at her the moment I went into her office. I took one last moment to collect myself before I knocked and opened her door.

“Bob! What can I do for you today?”

I took a long breath.

“Got an emergency meeting in a few minutes. I need the Rodriguez file, and-“

She let out a small scream then covered her mouth. I couldn’t help but look around at the piles and piles of random papers that filled most of the room.

“Gimme a sec!”

She ran up to me and practically pushed me out the door. As soon as the door closed, I heard crashes and bangs of piles of paper being tossed around.

After five minutes, the door opened a crack and the file was held out. She tried to speak, but all she could manage was heavy breathing. I took the file.

“… And the Harding account.”

Her eyes widened.

“I’ll bring it up to you!”

I worked on explanations on my way to the conference room.

Still don’t know how she managed to find it in time…

Saturday, 18 June 2016


Every town had a couple rulers. The guy who is elected to run the joint by ‘the people’, the guy who runs the joint because he owns most of it, and the guy who actually runs the joint because he’s in charge of the criminals. Often, two of all three of these are the same guy.

But this town had two men who could claim to be the head of the underworld, and that just wouldn’t do. Don Carrino was about to end this problem when some random thug did it for him.

Sometimes a pawn can take a king…

Friday, 17 June 2016


I took the knee, and waited. After a few moments, a swirl of pink frills brushed the ground where my eyes remained fixed.

“Your Majesty…”

There was a soft sigh from a few feet above me.

“My loyal servant, I know I’ve asked many things of you over the years, but today, perhaps, I ask of you the biggest one of them all.”

I braced myself.

“The King of Greenoko is coming to hunt with me, I need you to help me ‘catch’ something. But for now, help me out of this dress.”

I rose to help undress my King.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


The rook landed on the tree branch, and darted its head from side to side, looking for food. Humans meant food, and given there had been many humans here, the rook was sure there would be food.

But there was no human food, at least not any human food he was used to. There were, however, many piles of meat that smelt acceptable, and so the rook flew down and began to tear off strips of dead human. A near-dead human lay nearby, waving a stick at the rook and singing something. The rook ate.

Gomyan The Wizard flew away

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Faith can move mountains. But who controls Faith?

I suppose you have to say it is the God or Goddess or whatever at the center of the Faith, of course. But in my experience, they rarely get directly involved with day to day matters.

No, if you wish to control Faith, you need to control the clergy. You control those who run the church, you control those who believe in the church, you control Faith. And that, as we established, can move mountains.

Now, our price sheet is right here, very reasonable prices, starting with “The Ruler Is Probably Fine”…

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Given the way his armor gleamed in the sunlight, I had a solid quarter hour from the moment I saw him riding up to me to prepare. I debated with myself about getting into a defendable position, or an aggressive one, but in the end I stuck to the plan and tried to look as casual as an independent merchant would be when faced with a Knight of Land.

I was prepared for him to attack me without breaking his gallop, or to interrogate me about why I was so near the castle.

Didn’t expect him to be my contact.

Monday, 13 June 2016


His name is Max.

In the slums, guys like him are practically a dime a dozen. Young, dumb, usually with an inflated sense of self worth. You can pick them up almost anywhere and use them as drug mules, lookouts, bullet sponges.

Fall guys.

But here and now, Max, standing in front of Don Carrino, the most powerful man in the city, the Don looking the kid up and down and giving him a slight nod? Having a man give, for him, a fulsome, complete endorsement? That changes everything.

Because after all, sometimes a pawn can indeed become a king…

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Fishing For Compliments

Three lures bobbed slowly in the water surrounding the dock.

“So you know that blonde I was telling you about?”


“The waitress? Sure.”

“So after what, two months of going to that café every day, I finally managed to get her to come out with me for a cup of coffee.”


“Hey, that’s great!”

“Except when she came out from getting changed, I told her that she actually looked nice without the apron on and she got all pissy!”

“Well that sucks. Bitches be crazy, right?”


“Oh, sorry Lois.”

“It’s ok.

But dude, let’s talk about phrasing…”

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A Single Drop Of Rain

The sky was gray as I waited for him to turn up. He was smart, waiting till I was bored before he spoke.

“Toss the gun over by the cactus!”

Cursing, I tossed my sidearm at the plant. After a few moments, he came out from behind a boulder, gun trained on me.

“Bluerock, I presume?”

He shot past my ear.

“I do the talking!

I can get you Red Dust, all nice and neat. But he swings for my crimes too.”

I wiped a raindrop from my cheek.


He looked… Odd.

“Because I’ve already swung for them, before…”

Friday, 10 June 2016

G.S.S. Highwayman

Humanity is extinct, at least enough so to be declared that by the five different groups that swore they run the galaxy.

But a few humans, the occasional person, or almost-person? They are around, if you looked hard enough, working in exotic brothels, on mining planets, Clauy Gak the holoactor is rumored to be one.

Me? I’m human, I guess. And I’ve spoken to all of the others that I could find.

None of them remember doing this all before. None of them have had past lives.

Heading for the border of known space now.

I might be back.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Wegelagerer, R.D (1889-1934)

Unlike Mongolians, who were prohibited to work on the Dam by the contract with the government, the number of Negroes was kept low not by law, but rather just be convenience. Having to have separate buckets was ‘unreasonably costly’, plus most of my superiors were, ahem, sceptical of the quality of work they could do. But I didn’t have any such thinking, I’d left Germany to avoid such thinking, and so I tried to push them to do good work.

Too hard, I guess. I mean, one moment, ‘I’ll be back with water’, the next, my rope snaps, I fall…

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

El Bandolero

The ship was just carrying spices. Every crewman, from the Captain down to the Cabin Boys would say the same thing.

Although the riggers were getting a little sick of the lie. The ship was making a killing going after the weak and defenceless ships, and thus the riggers were really the only ones putting their lives in danger, so why shouldn’t they get a bigger share?

That was what Redsoot was telling all the other riggers, at least. Then during one storm, after telling the others he’d be back, he went up the mainsail, and then he ‘got killed’…

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


The reward got up to six thousand before Red Dust was caught.

All through the trial, he was at both open and unrepentant, freely admitting to robbing dozens of stagecoaches and killing at least thirty US Army soldiers, and yet also oddly defiant, as around half of the crimes on his record he insisted he had not done.

No matter, those that he admitted to were more than enough.

As the noose was fitted around his neck, and the last rites given, the hangman asked for his last words.

“I’ll be back.” he spat as the hatch below him opened.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Four C’s

Diamond, at least diamond for ornamental purposes, is sold by the carat, which is a unit of weight measurement. However, it’s not a smooth scale, wherein each carat increases the value of the gem by a set number. Even ignoring the issue of the cut, the color, the clarity, the fact is that the price of a one carat diamond is much higher than that of a 0.99 carat one, the rise is exponential. So a diamond the size of a fist is worth millions…

This one, the size of my head? Not enough money on the entire fucking planet…

Sunday, 5 June 2016

General Carlin’s Last Speech

The official history text for the war, as written by the Alliance, naturally, was the first place the speech was exposed to the wider world. After all, prior to that point, only the thousand or so troops that began the Battle of Longneck heard it, and only the hundred or so that survived were able to share it.

The speech quickly got a life of its own, as it becomes the symbol of the war effort, of the bravery of the soldiers, and it becomes the words of a generation.

Such a shame they didn’t include all the swearing though.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

My Brother, The Horrible Person

Why’d he up and die now?

Typical of him. He was always so selfish and self-centered. Growing up, he always found where our parents hid the Christmas presents, but wouldn’t tell me. And he always seemed to get the last bowl of cereal, forcing me to open the new box, pull out the toy…

And now, he has the audacity to up and die, he has the nerve to try and be a hero and stop some silly muggers… He knew damn well that I was facing a life with chronic kidney disease, and…

He’s a donor…

That absolute bastard!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Express Delivery

Down the end of Lilac Close, there was a small house with a neatly arranged garden and a pristine white picket fence.

Every weekday morning, around nine, the old man who lived in the house would open the front door and slowly walk to the mailbox. There, he would stand, waiting, watching as the postman would make his way down the cul-de-sac, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Every time, the old man would ask if there was a package for him. For almost twenty years, the answer was no.

The day the answer would have been yes, it went off prematurely.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ticking Box Social

“I’m Jerry. Name?”


“Excuse me.

I’m Jerry. Name?”

“… Bernice.”


“I beg your pardon?”

“Excuse me.

I’m Jerry. Name?”

“Oh, I’m Annette, lovely to meet you.”


“Ah, well, I work in a beauty salon, and-“


“Uh, not really, no, I-“

“Excuse me.

I’m Jerry. Name?”



“Medical Student, I guess?”


“Jewel Smash…”

“Football Team?”

“I hate sports.”

“Excuse me.

I’m Jerry. Name?”



“Fry cook.”


“A bit, yeah.”

“Football Team?”


“Excellent, come with me.”

“Excuse me? I’m not leaving just because you say so!”


Dammit. Excuse me.

I’m Jerry. Name?”

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Cancer's Sting

They met in chemotherapy.

She was lung, he was brain.

Maybe it was because they only had a year left each, or maybe it was how they were both dumped, or maybe it was just true love.

But she was still rich, so when it got serious, she paid for both of them to go into cryogenic sleep, until a cure was found.

Lung cancer got a cure mass produced in 2055. Brain cancer was finally beaten in 2061.

When he woke up alive and well, and saw her, his heart jumped.

Then fell when she introduced her new husband.