“Hostile movement! Well inside the perimeter! Well inside!” I stripped off my Immersive Response goggles as adrenaline surged through me. The virtual cityscape I’d been about to raze disappeared, replaced by our monitoring room’s many views of SesCo’s mining operations. On one screen, the red phosphorescent tracery of an intruder skated across a terrain map, a hot blip like blood spattering its way toward Pit 8.
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At the sack’s bottom, beneath an empty donut box, he found the beef jerky. It tasted mostly of pepper, but underneath it had a tingly, metallic flavor he tried not to think about. Who knew what it might have been made from? He doubted there were any original-form cows, the o-cows, left to slaughter…
We stared up at the sunlit peaks, each thinking our own thoughts. I thought about Dessica. We’d waited two months after landing to name it, but the decision was unanimous. Hot, dry, with dust storms that could blow for weeks at a time– if ever there was a Hell, that place had to be it. But eight of us had stayed there for two years, exploring and collecting data; the first interstellar expedition at work. And then we had packed up and come back– at an empty Earth. Not a soul left anywhere….
This theme of this episode of the Drabblecast is family unties: Nontraditional homes and family situations. In the drabble, the enterprising resident of a haunted house fools its ghosts into performing everyday domestic tasks. In Divorce in the House of Flies, a young boy has to deal with his parents’ divorce at the same time he has to deal with their transformation into human-shaped masses of tiny insects. In Wendigo Bake Sale, residents of a small town overcome their initial terror of a pair of wendigo participating in the school bake sale, only to be frightened anew when the wendigo reveal they are supporting the school because their child attends. In Knit, after losing their first yarn baby during her rebellious teen years in a tragic unraveling accident, a couple tries vainly to reconstruct her from the scraps of yarn, stuffing, and buttons left behind.
This episode of the Drabblecast concerns time and inter-dimensional travel. In the drabble, a being hurriedly fleeing its own dimension accidentally merges with a pizza jockey but still cannot escape its pursuers. In the feature, Killing the Morrow, voices from a ruined future attempt to flee to our present, commandeering a workforce to construct bathtub chambers where they can grow physical bodies and ready cities from which to rule. Is this the end of mankind as we know it, or can a second faction of future-dwellers subvert this implosive invasion?
“We’ve got one of them,” he told me gleefully.
“One of what?” I asked, bewildered.
“One of them,” he said, as if that explained it. “Cheeky sod from Accounts came upstairs and tried to get a coffee out of our vending machine. Can you believe it? Out of OUR vending machine!”
Nothing cheekier than a pandemic of murderous intent..
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