You couldn’t describe a rath. You couldn’t even look at one for more than a few seconds before you started getting a migraine aura. Rovers were just blots of shadow. The breeder was massive, armored, and had no recognizable features, save for its hideous, drooling, ragged edged maw. Irizarry didn’t know if it had eyes, or even needed them…
Tag: aliens Page 2 of 4
Izrael Irizarry stepped through a bright-scarred airlock onto Kadath Station, lurching a little as he adjusted to station gravity. On his shoulder, Mongoose extended her neck, her barbels flaring, flicked her tongue out to taste the air, and colored a question. Another few steps, and he smelled what Mongoose smelled, the sharp stink of toves, ammoniac and bitter…
Three days, we’ve been on this planet. Over a year, Earth-time. But we don’t talk about Earth-time anymore. It weakens morale, says Sir Overgeneral Halfish.
My morale went out the window when I found out that I was sentenced to be transported off planet.
My boss, Danny, liked to brag that El Corazon was the best Tex-Mex restaurant just off the Vegas Strip. “Because of you, Bescha,” he’d say to me. “You keep the customers happy. You keep me out of trouble.”
I won’t say which part of my job was harder. I kept an eye on the help-wanted ads, in case something better came along.
Not exactly the words you would expect at an instant when history changes course and the universe can never again be what it was. The die is cast; In this sign conquer; It is not fit that you should sit here any longer; We hold these truths to be self-evident; The Italian navigator has landed in the New World; Dear God, the thing works!–no man with any imagination can recall those, or others like them, and not have a coldness run along his spine. But as for what little Mierna first said to us, on that island half a thousand light-years from home . . .
The alien parked its car across the street from the shop and came and sat down in the waiting room. The mechanic must have seen this happen, peripherally. But he was busy settling the bill with a smartly dressed middle-aged woman, to whom he’d taken an irrational dislike. Those who deal with Joe Punter, day in and day out, especially Joe car-owning Punter, are prone to such allergies. He saw her start of concealed surprise, looked up, and there was the alien.
The Town Council meeting was split down the middle — Hullabaloo colonists on the one side and Fenella Elane Tyne on the other. Jerram stood in the back and admired the way Fenella strove to convince the tired farmers. Pacing around the podium, she brought to bear the power of unmatched intelligence, impeccable honesty, and polished verbal skills. In the discordant discussion that followed, Jerram studied her serious face. She was magnificent, but hopelessness coursed through him. She didn’t have a chance of winning anyone over to her side. And he did not have a chance of winning her.
Every few day-cycles, it receives hate-scented lace in anonymous packages. It opens the bland plastic envelope to pull one out, holding the delicate fragment between two forelimbs. Contemplating it before folding it again to put away in a drawer. Four drawers filled so far; the fifth is halfway there.
“Traitor,” say some of the smells, rotting fruit and acid. “Betrayer. Turncoat. One who eats their own young.” Others are simply soaked in emotion: hate and anger, and underneath the odor of fear. It lets the thoughts, the smells, the tastes fill it, set its own thoughts in motion. Then it goes downstairs and sits with the other whores, who make room uneasily for it.
When the alien fleet was first sighted just beyond the asteroid belt, end-of-the-world riots broke out in cities around the globe. But when astronomers calculated that the huge, silent ships would take nearly three weeks to reach Earth, all but the most committed rioters felt their enthusiasm wilt. By the end of the day they’d all dropped their bricks or bats and slunk home, plundered consumer electronics in hand, muttering about the aliens’ apparent lack of urgency...
The water fountains are low. The lockers are empty. The summer air is warm but there are people in the classrooms. People are talking, are moving. A female emerges from the nearest classroom. She is fully grown. She has dyed hair and competing odors and all of her teeth. Showing her teeth, she asks, “Are you the teacher?”
“YES. YES, I AM.”
She wants to believe those words. What she sees isn’t what she expects, but this woman believes in authority. She wants to get along with others. Showing her teeth, she says, “My son is thrilled to get into your class. He loves the outdoors and doing outdoor things . . . fishing and all that. . . .”
“You’ll do the field trip Thursday, right? To the woods?” She waits a moment and then says, “I can take some of the kids, if you need an extra car.”
“I DON’T NEED A CAR.”
“But I’d like to come along. I mean, I’ve heard such good things about you. My friend Rita . . .” She stops talking, trying to find a reason for her nervousness.
“I MUST GO AND TEACH YOUR SON.”
“By the Earth-Stypei Treaty of The Twenty-third Local Year of Our Interaction, as amended, suspected Stypean sympathizers may be detained by duly empowered authorities only so long as the unbreachable sovereignty of the Stypean body-host is not violated, and only for the purpose of deportation upon confirmation of Stypean inhabitance. Tests to determine inhabitance are only permissible if they do not breach body-host sovereignty in any fashion. The breaching of a body-host as well as the deportation of a non-Stypean body host to Stypean space shall constitute an act of war and a resumption of hostilities between the two worlds”
“Really?” I couldn’t keep the disbelief out of my voice. My eyes wandered back to the picture on the general’s wall.
He noticed. “That’s an untouched photo,” he said. “The aliens are real, and they’re here…”
In this episode of the Drabblecast, heavily pregnant jungle explorer TreeFrog7 keeps a recorded diary of data she and her husband are collecting for the Forbidden Greeny Jungle Field Guide. As they close in on a legendary mature CPU plant (MCPU), a wild version of cultivated CPU plants used as personal computers, they encounter numerous jungle creatures including an enormous flightless moth protecting the plant. Despite its attacks, the explorers do not want to kill the moth in case the MCPU needs it to survive. While treed by the moth in the MCPU, TreeFrog7 gives birth to their daughter while her husband downloads the MCPU’s data. Close enough to see the MCPU’s monitor, they watch a rapidly shifting display of locations and symbols. TreeFrog7 realizes the images are getting closer to their own location and represent another explorer’s collected data. Finally, the scene fades and the monitor shows only two eyes. The diary ends with an entry by an unknown voice that implies the explorers have themselves been collected. In the drabble, a teenage boy fails to convince an uninterested, gum-snapping girl that he understands her feelings of otherness and isolation.
Seven security gargoyles stare at me from atop the elaborate sandstone columns lining the casino’s walls. Their sharp eyes and oversized talons flex ever so slightly in anticipation of snatching up cheaters like unsuspecting prey… The pit boss watches me too, now, and for good reason. I’m an Ittari after all, a shapeshifter, just as they’d identified me with the DNA scan when I’d entered this fine establishment…
It was my turn to wear the mask, but my egg-sister Linney wouldn’t give it up. She’d been wearing the mask all morning, set on Smile, and it was a test day, too. Everyone thought she was so pleased and relaxed and Earthy…
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with the announcement of the 2011 People’s Choice Awards winners: Best Episode Art (Jerel Dye, Hokkaido Green, episode 208), Best Drabble (Lab Rats by Nicholas J Carter, episode 229), and Best Story (The Wish of the Demon Achtromagk by Eugie Foster, episode 214). In the feature, alien egg-sisters Linney and Mirana are competing for an assignment on Earth. On test day, they are evaluated on their abilities to blend into human society. Despite a disappointing start, Mirana pulls ahead of Linney during a trip to the mall where they meet, and she charms, a human teenage boy.
In the place where I was born, stones had been used to mark boundaries for four hundred years. We harrowed stones up in fields, turned them up in roadcuts. We built the foundations of houses from stones, dug around and between them. We made stone walls, and our greatest poet wrote poems about those walls and their lichen-speckled granite. The gift of glaciers, and the wry joke of farmers. “She’ll grow a ton and a half an acre, between the stones.” The people who lived there before mine made tools of them, made weights and currency.
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with a Drabblenews story about the resurrection of an ancient human vaginal yeast once used to make a fermented drink fittingly dubbed “vag yeast moonshine” by Norm. In the drabble, while Shouting Cloud has correctly read the signs predicting the return of the Sky Father, there isn’t only one – and they are armed and dangerous. The feature explores the need to adapt to new environments. Humans have fled a ruined Earth to find themselves on a planet where they can’t digest the plants or communicate with the oddly amiable natives, and their preserved supplies are dwindling. While reflecting on memories from a visit to Africa on Earth and desperate to discover some clue about how to survive, a xenobiologist risks exhuming the corpse of a juvenile native for dissection even though one of her colleagues was brutally slaughtered for doing so. When she is discovered by a group of natives, she is sure she will be murdered as well, only to find herself forced into nursing from one of them. As she drinks its milk, she realizes that the intelligent natives, after dissecting rather than slaughtering her colleague to learn about human biology and digestion, have likely theorized that the microscopic flora in their milk may allow humans to finally be able to digest the alien crops on their planet.
I don’t know if this is the same tape as last time, because They keep moving things around and stealing them. I don’t know who does it. It may be the staff here, or my own family when they come to visit, or the aliens, but somebody’s always doing it — taking my glasses, my tapes, my TV remote, anything I put down for a second. I don’t think it’s the other residents. I used to think that, but I don’t think they’re that organized. Some of them are a bit senile, to tell you the truth…
In this episode of the Drabblecast, Catherine is an 89-year-old nursing home resident plagued by someone who keeps taking her things and a son and daughter-in-law who treat her like a child. When she gets a visit from an alien named Tom, they strike a bargain: He will tell her who the thief is if she tells him the secret to longevity. His race does not live to old age, they die after reaching breeding age and having children (the human equivalent of about 40 years old); he is trying to learn how to extend their lifespan. Despite her insistence that there is no secret he doesn’t believe her, but does tell her no one is taking her stuff – she just can’t keep track of it. Catherine thinks he is lying because he didn’t like that she didn’t have an answer for him and becomes convinced that the people who are taking her stuff are actually looking for alien, looking for clues about their existence among her possessions. She makes a tape recording of her experience, hoping that when they inevitably take the tape and listen to it they will realize they have no reason to continue stealing from her since she will freely tell them everything she knows. In the drabble, a young girl wakes up with a new set of stitches and doesn’t stop searching until she finds the quarter the kidney fairy has left her.