Drabblecast cover for From Earth to Io with Love by Anike Kirsten


Tickets, please! Tickets! Right this way! Coupons to the right, and fast passes to left. NO pushing, folks. Watch your tendrils! Keep your goo to yourself. All lines will get you to the newest episode, “From Earth, to Io with Love. ” by Adelehin Ijasan!



Adelehin Ijasan is a Nigerian writer living in Scotland. He’s also an eye surgeon. His short stories have appeared in Fiyah, Interzone, Omenana and other venues. He was nominated for the Commonwealth short story award in 2014 and, more recently, was on the Nommos Award longlist for speculative fiction. Adelehin made the Locus recommended reading list in 2020 and is one of the co-creators of the Sauútiverse, a sci-fi fantasy shared project published by Android Press in November 2023

Cover art by Anike Kirsten

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From Earth to Io, with Love.

by Adelehin Ijasan

The work email came in at three in the morning, sent, most likely, by a joyless HR bot from one of their offices on Jupiter’s moon, Io: New silica deposits found. Promoted to senior geological officer. Report to Io within one day if travelling by teleportation or within three months if by space shuttle. It finished with vouchers offering discounts for the teleportation companies: T-Port, Yahoo, and Mansk.

Idris had never used T-Port. Until now, he’d had no reason to leave Earth; his job as a geophysicist consisted mainly of sitting in a cubicle, analysing seismic data sent in by the field workers scattered around the solar system. He could barely remember the last time he touched soil samples.

 He vaguely remembered signing some documents when he first started the job, about being able to travel on short notice. Crap. No family to worry about, back then. Now, he had Whiskers, a stray who’d sauntered into his living room one morning, tail in the air like a question mark, and promptly settled into one of his sofas. He could use the raise anyway; perhaps, a new climbing tree for Whiskers on the far wall.

 Great service, I was on Mars in no time, one reviewer on Yell wrote. T-Port had mostly four and five star reviews. Way better than Mansk or Yahoo, which both flaunted an uncomfortably high number of one star reviews. One reviewer recounted shit, actual shit, in the teleportation chamber at Yahoo. Idris shuddered. Not a great way to travel. The alternative, space shuttles, were not all that, either. No accidents except for one or two that had gone missing in deep space. He imagined them, floating at the edge of some unknown galaxy or spiraling the rink of some faraway, carnivorous black hole, all passengers dead. Whiskers let out a silent yawn.

 Idris copied the discount code and clicked the link that led him to T-Port’s website.

We’ll get you to your destination in a blink! Multiple new destinations now available! More reception hubs nearing completion, thanks to our backers! We now travel to Io! More locations than Mansk or Yahoo! Please leave a review on Yell or Google. We appreciate what our customers say!

 He booked a trip to Io and included luggage under 25kg. A message popped up:

Discount code expired.

  The site charged his card for the full amount.

“Fucking HR,” Idris cursed under his breath.

  Whiskers blinked.


T-Port’s departure hub was thirty minutes from home. Idris paid the taxi and stepped into a sterile self-service hall with multiple cylindrical structures running from floor to ceiling — the teleportation pods. In front of each pod, travellers and their luggage jostled into queues that snaked all the way to the multiple entrances. Business was going really well for T-Port, Idris noted. You could pick your teeth with your reflection in the polished marble floor. Holographic service reps blinked in and out of existence and a cool breeze wafted from multiple air conditioning units. Overhead, a robotic female voice advertised all the new travel locations you could now go with T-Port. “Visit the ice surfer’s paradise of Enceladus.”

 “Have you been to Io?”

 “Discount for a romantic dinner for two at the base of an erupting cryovolcano on Titan!”

 He found his way to the shortest queue yet and stood behind a woman with perfume strong enough to choke him. She held two bags, a grey Bvlgari hand luggage, and a chequered brown Louis Vuitton box. She also had a neurotic pet chihuahua in a crate meant for a larger dog. It ran in circles, barking nonstop at imagined enemies.

 “I didn’t know you could bring pets,” Idris muttered, thinking of Whiskers with the neighbours back home. She examined him from top to bottom, and did not deem him worthy of a conversation. She looked like one of those frequent flier types. Soon, it was her turn; she entered the pod, taking an inordinate amount of time to get her luggage and dog crate inside. The semicircular door slid with a whoosh and closed. A moment passed. Idris heard the dog yelp once. The light above the pod flickered green, and the door slid open; the woman, chihuahua, and luggage gone, teleported to God knows where.

He stepped into the hub; the door closing behind him. The technology was impressive, he thought, wondering how it must all work — but only for a moment. Who cared, anyway? This tech had become an inextricable part of life as humans knew it. No one actively cared how electricity, or radio waves, or even video calls worked. What mattered was that they did their job, and that was fine by most people. The lady’s perfume still lingered in the hub. Part of his mind found that disconcerting. He wondered if she smelled the same on Mars or wherever she was travelling.

An electronic voice filled the pod. “Ticket, please.”

Idris showed his phone to the small LED screen on the wall. It accepted his ticket and asked him to confirm his destination and luggage. He tapped the required buttons. The lingering perfume suddenly filled him with panic.

 “Place your hand in the slot, please.” A narrow slot opened beneath the LED screen. He slid his right hand into the cavity and felt a clamp. There was something harsh, final, about the coldness around his wrist. It felt like the grim reaper’s grip.

 “Enjoy your trip!” A card popped out through a different slot. He collected it with his free hand: a small postcard of a lady in a bikini drinking a mojito on a beach, inscribed From Earth to Io, with love.

 Multiple blue laser beams appeared, scanning Idris and his bag in rapidly dancing strobes. Idris blinked.

 “Scan complete.”

He felt a sharp pain and tore his hand away, staggering backwards with the force he’d needed to break free from the clamp. None of the reviews mentioned this! He pocketed the postcard and examined his wrist. A broken needle jutted out of a subcutaneous bubble of fluid. As a child, he’d had a metal plate inserted in his thumb to replace a cancerous bone. The needle had broken against it. Numbness crept up his hand. In seconds he lost all feeling up to his elbow — a strong anaesthetic. He pulled the needle out.

“Hey!” he yelled, shaking the needle at the ceiling where the robotic voice seemed to come from. “What is—?”

The floor beneath him spun open with a whir. Idris plunged a hundred feet into utter darkness. He screamed all the way down, flailing. He hit the ground with a thud, pain shooting up his spine from the impact, and blacked out. When he came to, he found that he had landed on an uneven surface. He felt around in the dark, deafened by the loud sound of heavy machinery.

The woman’s perfume hit him again, but this time stronger, overpowering, and he could hear the incessant bark of her little chihuahua. Trembling, Idris pulled his phone and raised it, casting a small umbra of light on a mass of bodies and luggage beneath him. Mouth open, eyes staring, the lady’s wig had fallen off, exposing patchy natural hair.

 A body fell with a thud next to him. Another. He scrambled out of the way to avoid being crushed by still more. Hyperventilating, he cast his light on cracked skulls, bones jutting out of skin, bloodied faces, and shit. His heart fluttered wildly in his chest. What the actual fuck! He checked the woman’s pulse. She was alive. They were all still alive but unconscious, except the dog, of course, who had not put its paw in the slot and was very awake.

Idris realised he was in a large receptacle similar to a massive dumpster. It lurched forward on rails, rattling, slowly at first, then sped up to rollercoaster speeds, travelling through an elaborate and automated underground rail system in the dingy underbelly of T- Port’s teleportation hub. Idris hung onto the rim, catching sight of other tracks and dumpsters filled with unconscious people. The track ran for another mile before opening into a great mechanical workplace that looked like a giant blacksmith’s forge. The receptacle tipped over, dumping the unconscious people on a large conveyor belt. Idris rolled out of the way as they all tumbled out, small groans of pain escaping from some, the sound of crunching bones from others, the yip-yip-yip of the chihuahua a constant backdrop. Idris reeled at the scale: multiple tracks from all the T-Port hubs in the city ended here. Thousands of carts. Conveyor belts snaked at multiple levels like the crisscrossing highways of a megacity.

 All the belts led to a huge central chamber filled with sharp, spinning blades that pulverised the helpless people with great and dispassionate ease. He was oddly reminded of the watermelon and mango smoothie he made most mornings. Whole bodies danced briefly on the blades like cubes of fruit before disappearing in a burst of blood and bones and sinew.

Desperate barks from the dog jarred him out of his shock. Idris grabbed the chihuahua’s crate and ran. He weaved through the convoluted loops of the conveyor belt system until he found a walkway where the final gelatinous effluents went into open bags with Pig Feed printed on the side. Several mechanical arms worked with nonchalant efficiency, sealing the bags and stamping logos.

Idris found an open maintenance door and dashed through it. He navigated a short distance of lockers, overalls and yellow hardhats before emerging at a deserted farm. He looked for the tall spire of the Senate building, an easy landmark to right his mental compass.


I just had the worst experience at T-Port’s teleportation hub! Idris typed furiously on Yell as he opened his door and stumbled into his apartment. He dropped the dog crate on his work top.

I’m calling the police! He wrote under his one star review. People are being murdered at T-Port and turned into pig feed! How is this possible??! There’s an elaborate machinery underground. How has this gone on unnoticed? Who are the people leaving these 5 star reviews?

He grabbed a bottle of water from his fridge and finished it at one go. The dog, whose sequined collar read Angel, whimpered in its crate. Idris let her out and set a bowl of cat food down with some water. Angel bared her teeth as she wolfed it down. Idris sat down in his chair, shut his eyes, and took deep breaths to regulate his heartbeat. When his hands had stopped shaking, he dialed the police.


“Your call is being routed to customer service support at T-Port.” 


“Hello Mr. Idris Aubameyang,” a woman’s voice. A human.

“Who is this?”

“My name is Ari. I’m a service representative for T-Port. We just saw your review on Yell and we’re so sorry you had such a horrible experience.”

“A horrible experience?”

“It is unnecessary to call the police. This is simply a small misunderstanding which will be rectified in a few minutes.”

“You are killing people!” Idris shrieked into his phone.

“Well, technically yes, but not really.”

“You will pay for your crimes. The public must know this.”

“It is all in the public domain, Mr. Aubameyang. Did you read the terms and conditions of your travel contract, sir?”

“Are you fucking serious right now?”

“Our pig feed business is not a secret. It’s how we can keep our prices so low and be well ahead of the competition.”

Idris sat down and opened up his laptop. He pulled the travel receipt and scrolled down to the almost microscopic small print. Somewhere around the mention of travel insurance, a phrase: All departure bodies will be destroyed under the teleportation act signed by Congress into law, the manner of which will be at the discretion of T-Port, Inc.

“We keep the right to destroy the bodies as we see fit,” she continued. “As a matter of law, once you step into the pod, your body becomes property of T-Port.”

“I paid for a teleportation service!” Idris cried.

“I just sent you a feed from our arrival hub on Io.”

An email dropped into his inbox. He opened it. The linked camera feed showed himself materializing in a different colored pod, holding the postcard From Earth to Io with love, and retrieving his hand from the panel.

“You are currently on Io, sir. Your teleportation was successful.”

Another feed showed him stepping out of the hub on Io. In the corner of his screen he saw and recognised the woman with the chihuahua, dragging her luggage to an exit. Angel barked at the screen in equal parts surprise and disbelief.

“This is … this…”

“The process of teleportation simply scans you down to your smallest atoms, and we replicate this at your destination from locally available stores of hydrogen, carbon, and other elements. Every single thing, organic or nonorganic, can be replicated this way. Humans and luggage. It’s all very similar to 3D printing, in a way.”

 “Oh my God.”

“And, yes, this is public knowledge.”

“It can’t be.”

Her voice dipped in a conspiratorial tone. “To tell you the truth, it’s easy to manipulate what the public knows and what the public knows, if you get what I mean. It is public knowledge by law, but the people don’t need to know, know.”

Know know?”

“It’s bad for business.”

“I wasn’t meant to survive in there,” Idris whispered.

“Well … this is the first time our anaesthesia has failed. There’s going to be a lot of meetings to understand this. And again, I’m so sorry for such an unpleasant experience! We will be sure to give you a discount voucher on Io.”

“I’m not going to Io anymore!”

“My,” she chuckled. “You are already on Io!”

There was a knock on the door. Idris blinked at his phone. His review on Yell had disappeared. He crossed the living room in three bounds and put his eye in the peephole.                         

“Goodbye, Mr. Idris Aubameyang.”

The narrow barrel of a silenced pistol awaited him.


 Idris settled into the Airbnb his company had organised for him: a nice flat on the edge of the habitable zone in the domed city of Io. What a magnificent view. Raging volcanoes smoldered in the distance, visible through the metallic glass that surrounded the city and protected it from the sulphuric fumes. He pulled out the postcard in his pocket. Teleportation had been seamless, a rather pleasant experience even. His phone beeped. It was a free discount voucher from T-Port he could use at multiple restaurants on Io. How thoughtful. He opened up Yell.

And wrote a five star review.